Mars is in the focus of countries like the United States, China and the UAE. February was a busy month for Mars with probes of the three countries in its skies. American Perseverance landed with a helicopter, the probe of China will lower its rover in May and Hope of the UAE would remain in orbit. The United States has more than one rover active on Mars. They are engaged in specific preprogramed tasks that involve Artificial Intelligence, robotics and Renewable Energy. These are indispensable in missions to the Moon, Mars and other planets. China plans to land its first rover on the red planet in May.

The rover Zhurong is aboard the Tianwen-1 probe that is orbiting Mars. ABC News reports that the rover could land on the alien surface in May. One of its programs would be to carry out activities related to unearthing evidence of life. Obviously, China wants to make its presence felt on the red planet.

Plans of China include putting a man on the moon

The space agency NASA has its rovers on Mars since 2012. Curiosity was the first one that landed there in 2012. It has been working 24X7 on the surface. In 2018, the next rover InSight landed – its task was to dig below the surface. Three years later, in 2021, it was the turn of Perseverance. It landed with Ingenuity, a helicopter. Its purpose was to capture aerial shots of Mars.

Obviously, America has been working on a long-term plan. China is a late starter in activities associated with space. In 2019, it landed a space probe on the far side of the Moon. Full credit goes to China for the revolutionary concept of exploring an unseen part of the Moon. Subsequently, it brought back lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.

ABC News says the Chinese space plans include launching a crewed orbital station and landing a human on the moon. China wants to build its space station by 2022.

The rover of China has its work cut out

As far as Mars goes, the probable landing site on Mars could be Utopia Planitia. This is a rocky terrain. The U.S. lander Viking 2 touched down in this location in 1976.

China has surged ahead of other powers as its Tianwen-1 probe entered the orbit around Mars. ABC News goes on to say the China National Space Administration CNSA made a brief disclosure about the goals of Tianwen-1. These would pertain to analysis and mapping of the Martian surface and geology. This would be the initial step to explore the natural resources available on the planet. The rover Zhurong would also search for water ice and conduct studies of the climate and surface environment. Incidentally, if successful, China would become the third country after the former Soviet Union and the United States to have its robot on Mars. America is certainly more experienced in matters related to space research but China could also prove its worth.

China names its Mars rover Zhurong

According to Space.com, Zhurong is the name of the fire god of China and its first-ever Mars rover would carry this name. It will attempt its first landing on the red planet in May. The China National Space Administration CNSA revealed this on the occasion of China Space Day held in Nanjing on April 24. The shortlist had a total of 10 names and the public voted for Zhurong. The voting lines opened in January. The solar-powered rover weighs around 530-lbs. It is a part of the Tianwen-1 mission that was launched in July 2020 and entered the orbit of Mars in February. The landing attempt could be in mid-May on Utopia Planitia. Tianwen-1 orbiter has been collecting high-resolution images of this site.

Zhurong, the rover, carries equipment to capture photographs and analyze the composition of rocks.

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