State media announced that China’s probe to Mars landed on the Red Planet early Saturday to deploy its Zhurong rover, a milestone for Beijing’s increasingly bold space aspirations and a first for a country on its first-ever Martian mission.
The lander carrying Zhurong completed the perilous descent through the Martian atmosphere, using a parachute to navigate the infamous “seven minutes of terror,” heading for the Utopia Planitia, a vast northern lava plain.
The mission “successfully landed in the pre-selected location,” according to state broadcaster CCTV, which also launched a special TV programme called “Nihao Mars” dedicated to the mission. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency in reporting the touchdown. During its first mission to Mars, China became the first country to carry out an orbiting, landing, and roving operation.
China has now sent astronauts into orbit, sent probes to the Moon, and landed a rover on Mars, claiming the most coveted award in the race for space dominance.