China names first Mars rover ‘Zhurong’


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The rover is currently aboard China’s Mars probe Tianwen-1, which had entered the Mars orbit on February 24 and will land on the red planet in May to search for evidence of life.

Created On: Apr 27, 2021 15:27 ISTModified On: Apr 27, 2021 15:27 IST

China’s Tianwen-1 probe, Reference Image

China’s first Mars rover has been named ‘Zhurong’ after a traditional fire god, as per an announcement made by the government on April 24, 2021. 

The rover is currently aboard China’s Mars probe Tianwen-1, which had entered the Mars orbit on February 24 and will land on the red planet in May to search for evidence of life.

China’s Mars probe is a part of its ambitious space plans to launch a crewed space station and land a human on the moon.

China’s Mars Rover name: Significance

China’s Mars Rover has been named ‘Zhurong’ after a traditional fire god. The name reportedly has been chosen as it fits with the Chinese name for Mars — “Huo Xing,” or fire star, said the China National Space Administration.

The name ‘Zhurong’ signifies igniting the flame of China’s planetary exploration.

China’s Tianwen-1 probe

China is planning to land its Tianwen-1 Mars probe in Utopia Planitia, a rock-strewn plain on the red planet. This is the same landing site where the US lander Viking 2 touched down in 1976. China will become the third country after the US and former Soviet Union to land a rover on Mars. 

Objective

China’s Tianwen-1 probe aims to analyse and map the Martian surface and geology, looking for water ice and studying the climate and surface environment. 

Background

China became the first country in 2019 to land a space probe on the little-explored far side of the moon. It also became the first country to return lunar rocks to Earth in December 2020 for the first time since the 1970s.

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