There’s a new space race, and it’s taking place on Mars. NASA’s Perseverance rover isn’t the only new rover on the Red Planet in 2021. China has its own rover exploring the surface, Zhurong, and China has published new photos, video and audio from its Zhurong rover.
As seen on Space News, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) published new footage of Zhurong’s descent to Mars. Onboard Zhurong are microphones designed to listen to the sounds of wind on Mars. Beyond capturing wind, the mics also recorded audio of Zhurong’s descent and landing.
‘With the files we released this time, including those sounds recorded when our Mars rover left the lander, we are able to conduct in-depth analysis to the environment and condition of Mars, for example, the density of the atmosphere on the Mars,’ said Liu Jizhong, deputy commander of the Zhurong mission.
Here’s the deployment of Zhurong from the landing platform, but this time with SOUND pic.twitter.com/gKES48hT6a
— Andrew Jones (@AJ_FI) June 27, 2021
Zhurong weighs 240 kilograms (529 pounds) and landed in Utopia Planitia on May 14. Following a week of systems checks and environmental analysis, Zhurong deployed and began exploring Mars. The solar-powered, six-wheeled rover has traveled 236 meters on Mars so far, as seen in a panorama published by CNSA.
Click here to download the full-resolution version. Credit: CNSA
Zhurong is up to some of the same things as Perseverance. Like Perseverance, Zhurong has also captured a selfie, which we wrote about earlier this month.
Zhurong rover (left) and its landing platform (right). Credit: CNSA
Compared to China’s previous rover efforts on the Moon, Zhurong is more independent. ‘Zhurong Rover is more independent in its driving on Mars [compared with China’s Yutu lunar rovers]. It can judge by itself whether there is a path ahead based on its own image analysis. It will make a judgment about every one meter in its driving, and move towards the target set by the ground,’ Jia Yang, the deputy chief designer of the Tianwen-1 Mars probe, said to CCTV.
Tianwen-1 launched in July 2020 and is China’s first independent interplanetary mission. As part of the mission, there’s an orbiter, lander and rover (Zhurong). Tianwen-1 entered Mars’ orbit on February 10, 2021. In March, we saw a stunning image of Mars from Tianwen-1. CNSA recently shared an image, seen below, showing the rover’s progress on Mars.
You can see Zhurong’s tracks, showing its progress on Mars. Credit: CNSA
As part of the Tianwen-1 mission, Zhurong has six science-oriented payloads, including instruments for spectroscopy, multispectral imaging, radar and more. CNSA hopes that Zhurong will shed light on Martian water-ice deposits, weather, topography and geology. Zhurong sends information from Utopia Planitia to Tianwen-1 once per sol. Zhurong’s primary mission is 90 sols (92 Earth days) long.