First Images From Zhurong Rover Released


The China National Space Administration (CNSA) released the first two images taken by its Zhurong Martian rover on Wednesday. The rover touched down on Utopia Planitia in the planet’s northern hemisphere on May 15, making China the second nation ever to successfully land on Mars. The Tianwen-1 mission, of which the rover is part along with an orbiter and lander, launched from Hainan’s Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on July 23, 2020.

“Congratulations to the China National Space Administration on receiving the first images from the Zhurong Mars rover!” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “As the international scientific community of robotic explorers on Mars grows, the United States and the world look forward to the discoveries Zhurong will make to advance humanity’s knowledge of the Red Planet.”

According to CNSA, the six-wheeled Zhurong rover is 1.85 meters (6.07 feet) tall, weighs around 240 kilograms (529 pounds) and can move at 200 meters an hour (0.12 mph). It carries instruments including a multispectral camera, meteorological sensor and ground-penetrating radar. Zhurong is expected to operate for at least three months, conducting surveys of the planet.

Image: China National Space Administration
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. If anyone thinks that the U.S. is not in another space race, this should get your attention. First they landed a rover on the far side of the moon. Now a rover on Mars. Also, they are building their own space station. China is serving notice that they are serious about becoming the leader in space exploration. While we dither about whether we should spend money on another “pointless” moon landing, they are forging ahead with a clear goal in mind. A Mars rover is not exactly like Sputnik orbiting over our heads, but maybe it should be another wake-up moment for Americans too distracted over politics and pandemics.

  2. If you really want to ruin your day read the book by Michael Pillsbury called The Hundred-Year Marathon China’s secret strategy to replace American as the global superpower. And now we have the Manurian Canidate
    in the White House.

  3. “said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “As the international scientific community of robotic explorers on Mars grows, the United States and the world look forward to the discoveries Zhurong will make to advance humanity’s knowledge of the Red Planet.”

    China cares nothing about sharing information “to advance humanity’s knowledge of the Red Planet” I wonder if the caps on “Red Planet” was intentional or a Freudian slip. Red China wants knowledge to advance the agenda of Red China’s government. Benefits to a global humanity, let alone their own people is well down the list of priorities.

    Our economic system of return on investment, meaning the highest dollars available to meet Wall Street financial analysts expectations has driven the US consumer based economy into seeking out the cheapest way to make anything. Naturally, the manufacturing of anything goes to the cheapest bidder with the manpower combined with capacity to mass produce to fill the vast US consumer needs.

    Decades ago, a company sought to make a decent profit to allow a decent wage promoting a working environment that encouraged long term employees. Companies sought a reasonable profit to re-invest internally. That included keeping quality employees. No revolving 3-5 year door of employment. Companies once were proud to have experienced, skilled employees and paid a wage commensurate with their experience.

    Today, an employee is viewed as the most expensive ingredient determining the bottom line. An employee is now a liability. Over time, our companies success now being determined by meeting financial expectations of people not associated in any way with the company and its products, has made it far more cost effective to ship manufacturing overseas namely China. Even chickens raised in the US are shipped to China for processing, shipped back to the US for retail distribution.

    It’s not like we cannot produce…we can. But as long as company success is driven solely by the extent of the bottom line to meet investor expectations, investors of which includes each and everyone of us who has a 401K complaining about lack of US manufacturing capacity. As a result, our consumer products will increasingly go overseas.

    Profit is not a dirty word. Profit is needed to keep a company functional and in business. When profit is made, but does not meet some financial analysts expectations causing stock prices and company valuation to change, then we have become slaves to those analyst’s expectations. This has made us inadvertent slaves to the lobbyist. They are the one’s influencing Congress and our government. The lobbyist representing companies whose financial success ass measured by Wall Street, runs our country today. We the people, just like the the citizens of Red China, whose government has a competing machine on the “Red Planet”, are very low on the priority list for overall domestic tranquility.

    Harbor Freight is no different than any of the Big Three car companies as well as import manufacturers who are building products in the US. Everyone’s bread is being buttered by the lobbyist and Wall Street whose influences are into every country’s government. There are financial reasons why chickens raised in the US are processed in China and Japan based Toyota is building Camry’s in Lafayette, Indiana. And if those financial reasons change manufacturing of Camry’s in Indiana can be shut down and moved to a better location as directed and mandated by the lobbyist through Wall Street. So, Toyota has their lobbyists influencing Indiana and the federal US government to keep their investment secure as well as Tyson lobbyists influencing the Red Chinese government.

    While each government including Red China and the US is looking for world dominance, the most effective way to get it, and the maintain it, is influencing competing governments with money. Way too expensive with way too much damage to the country’s infrastructure if you want to dominate by waging war. Saber rattling has its place for a short term distraction designed to keep the local citizen’s attention on something other than whatever lobbying efforts are going on behind the scenes. War is not as effective as economic influences within corrupt global governments. The US is no different in it’s ambitions. The US is no different regarding internal corruption.

    We did not aim an M-16 backed by tens of thousands of ground pounders supported by our Air Force to “force” Red China to build McDonald’s franchises in Peking. But McDonald lobbyists influenced the Red Chinese government enough to make a communist government decide it was worth their while to permit McDonalds to introduce our western way of eating. Likewise, the Red Chinese knew that having McDonalds in country opened equally influential lobbying efforts in Washington, DC. Investing in Cirrus, Mooney, and Diamond offered the same potential influence to our state and federal government. Way cheaper and more effective than war.

    To maintain military and global super power status it’s all about the bottom line. And our Congress is guided by the bottom line…even if you have to manufacture a bottom line. Red China just laid claim to the Red Planet with NASA seemingly acknowledging that.