The state news agency Xinhua reported that on Saturday, an unflyed Chinese spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of Mars, making China the second space country after the United States to land on the red planet.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the “Tianjin 1” spacecraft landed on a vast plain called “Utopia Planitia”. “This is the first time that China has left a footprint on Mars.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated all those who participated in this visit.

He said: “You have the courage to face challenges, pursue excellence, and make our country one of the pioneers in planetary exploration.” “Your outstanding achievements will always be etched in the memory of your motherland and people.”

The spacecraft left the parked orbit at 1700 GMT Friday (0100 Beijing time). The official China Space News stated that the landing module separated from the orbiter three hours later and entered the Martian atmosphere.

It said that the landing process includes “deceleration for nine minutes”, which is the process by which the module decelerates and then slowly descends.

Xinhua News Agency quoted the China National Space Administration as saying that the official landing time is 2318 GMT (0718 Beijing time). It took more than 17 minutes for the rover to deploy its solar panels and antennas, and send signals to ground controllers at a distance of more than 320 million kilometers.

The mobile station named “Zhu Rong” will now survey the landing site before leaving the platform for inspection. Zhu Rong is named after the mythological Chinese god of fire and possesses six scientific instruments, including a high-resolution terrain camera.

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It will study the surface soil and atmosphere of the planet. Zhu Rong will also use ground penetrating radar to look for signs of ancient life, including underground water and ice.

The Chinese poem “Tianwen-1” (Tianwen-1), passed down two thousand years ago, is China’s first independent flight to Mars. The probe launched jointly with Russia in 2011 failed to leave the earth’s orbit.

In July last year, the 5-ton spacecraft was launched from Hainan Island in southern China and was launched by a powerful “Long March May 5” rocket.

After more than six months of transportation, Astro One reached the red planet in February and has been in orbit ever since.

If Zhurong is successfully deployed, China will be the first country to orbit Mars, land and release the rover.

Astro One was one-third of its entry into Mars in February. The perseverance of the American rover successfully landed in the huge depression Jezero Crater more than 2,000 kilometers away from the utopia Planitia on February 18.

Hope-the third spacecraft to reach Mars in February this year-was not designed for landing. It was launched by the United Arab Emirates and is currently operating over Mars to collect data about its weather and atmosphere.

The first successful landing was completed by NASA Viking 1 in July 1976 and then Viking 2 in September of that year. The Mars probe launched by the former Soviet Union landed in December 1971, but lost communication within seconds after landing.

China is pursuing an ambitious space program. It is testing reusable spacecraft and plans to build a manned moon landing research station.

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Xinhua News Agency said in a comment published on Saturday that China is “not competing for space leadership” but is committed to “uncovering the secrets of the universe and contributing to the peaceful use of space by mankind”.

Thomson Reuters 2021 ©