This year has seen a lot of traffic diving and descending into the Martian Surface. The recent successful touchdown of China’s Zhurong Rover (meaning God of Fire) – a six-foot-long robot armed with different kinds of spectrophotometric and optical devices – has become the second rover to land on the surface of the red planet.
Zhurong Rover, which landed on Saturday, was released by China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft, which was orbiting the Red planet for the last few months, studying its atmosphere and mapping its surface topography.
The successful touchdown is a remarkable achievement making China the first nation to land successfully on the Red planet in the first attempt. The milestone is difficult to achieve due to a staggering distance of 323.8 million kilometers between Earth and Mars, making remote controlling a susceptible task. This huge distance means the radio message from the lander and rover takes almost 18 minutes to reach the control room on earth. The Zhurong vehicle used a combination of different techniques to descend on the surface of our neighbor successfully. It deployed its protective capsule, a parachute, and a rocket platform to make the descend.
Before this touchdown, only the Americans had gained the mastery to land on Mars successfully. All other nations and space agencies tried either crashed or lost control or contact with their vehicles soon after touchdown.
After a time lag of 17 nerve-breaking minutes, the rover sent back the signal after successfully deploying its solar panels. Zhurong, which landed on Utopia Planitia, a vast terrain on the planet’s Northern hemisphere, will try to spend almost 90 Martian days and keep studying the planet’s geology.
Zhurong is 2000 kilometers away from NASA’s Perseverance landing site and its Ingenuity helicopter in Jezero Crater. The American and Chinese spacecraft was actually beaten by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Hope, an orbiter that reached the Martian atmosphere on February 9, a few days before it got American and Chinese companions on the red planet.
Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science, offered his congratulations to China. “Together with the global science community, I look forward to the important contributions this mission will make to humanity’s understanding of the Red Planet,” he wrote on Twitter.
Muhammad Abdullah Khan has done bachelors in Chemistry from Government College University
Lahore. He is a science enthusiast and loves to read and write about astronomy, cosmology and latest