China’s first Mars rover is to land on the surface of Mars from Saturday morning to Wednesday. There, the rover will drive around ninety sols and carry out soil research on the planet with instruments.
It is about the Zhurong rover, which is still in a probe that orbits the planet. That probe entered orbit around Mars three months ago. China’s national space agency CNSA says that after evaluation of flight status, the satellite will launch a landing campaign for the rover between Saturday and Wednesday. Utopia Planitia is the intended landing target.
The rover will use parachutes and retro missiles to land. If China succeeds in landing the rover, it will be the third country after Russia and the United States to do so. The rover has six instruments on board for soil investigation, such as a radar instrument that can see through the surface of the planet. Landing takes about seven minutes and takes place without direct control from China.
The Tianwen-1 probe and Zhurong rover are both part of China’s first Mars mission. The satellite was launched last July. CNSA says that “ massive amounts of scientific data ” has been collected since February. The probe has thirteen instruments on board and can investigate, among other things, the atmosphere, the magnetic field and the climate of Mars.