“Nine Minutes of Terror”, when China is the second country to land on Mars Science & Tech News
China landed a spaceship on Mars for the first time, making it the second country to arrive on the Red Planet.
The Tianwen-1 ship landed in an icy area of Mars known as Utopia Planitia.
On social media, the official Xinhua news agency said, “China has left a footprint on Mars for the first time, an important step in our country’s space exploration.”
Meanwhile, China Space News said there was “nine minutes of terror” as the lander entered the Martian atmosphere, slowed down, and slowly descended to the surface.
A solar powered rover named Zhurong, about the size of a small car, will now survey the landing pad before any inspections are carried out.
It is named after a mythical Chinese god of fire and is equipped with six scientific instruments, including a high-resolution topography camera.
A ground penetrating radar is supposed to look for signs of ancient life as well as underground water and ice.
Tianwen-1 (which means “questions to heaven” in English) was fired from the southern Chinese island of Hainan last July.
It reached the Red Planet in February and has been in orbit ever since.
America’s Perseverance Rover successfully landed in a huge depression called Jezero Crater, about 2,000 km from Utopia Planitia, in February.
Another spacecraft launched by the United Arab Emirates is currently orbiting Mars collecting data on weather and atmosphere, but is not designed to land.
According to Xinhua, China “does not want to compete for leadership in space” but “wants to reveal the secrets of the universe and contribute to the peaceful use of space by humanity”.
Beijing has landed on the moon before, but successfully touching down on Mars is a much more difficult endeavor.