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.