16th May, 2021
NASA associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen has congratulated China’s space agency on the successful landing of Tianwen-1 spacecraft on planet Mars.
“Congratulations to CNSA’s #Tianwen1 team for the successful landing of China’s first Mars exploration rover, #Zhurong!
“Together with the global science community, I look forward to the important contributions this mission will make to humanity’s understanding of the Red Planet,” Zurbuchen tweeted on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Tianwen-1 with China’s first Mars rover Zhurong successfully touched down on the Red Planet, the first time China has landed a probe on a planet other than Earth.
Tianwen-1, consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, was launched from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern China’s island province of Hainan on July 23, 2020.
It entered Mars’ parking orbit in February.
It is the first time in the world that orbiting and landing on Mars has been completed in one launch mission, and China has come to the forefront of Mars exploration in the world, said Ye Peijian, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The rover, named after the Chinese god of fire Zhurong in ancient Chinese mythology, has ground-penetrating radar, a laser and sensors to gauge the atmosphere and magnetic sphere.
The exploration of Mars will investigate whether there is or was life on Mars.
It will also help shed light on the history of evolution and the future development trends of Earth, as well as search for potential living space for human beings, said Li Chunlai, deputy chief designer of China’s first Mars exploration mission.