China has landed its Zhurong rover on Mars
Don’t count on Zhurong to match as much as, say, Perseverance. The latter weighs over one metric ton, is nuclear-powered, has 23 cameras, carries a carbon-dioxide-to-oxygen tech demonstration, can take and stow samples that can be returned to Earth someday, and even introduced a brand new helicopter to the planet. The previous is simply 240 kilograms, solar-powered, has solely carries six devices, and is simply anticipated to final for 90 Martian days (although it might very effectively survive for longer).
Tianwen-1’s objective is to make use of its 13 devices (seven on the orbiter, six on the rover) to review the geology and soil mineralogy of Mars, map its water ice distribution, probe the electromagnetic and gravitational forces of the planet, and characterize its floor local weather and setting. Whereas the orbiter will observe and measure this stuff from a world perspective and snapping pictures right down to a 2-meter decision, Zhurong will hone in on factors of intrigue on the floor. It can use spectroscopy to seek out out what the soil is product of, measure magnetic fields on the bottom, and observe climate adjustments like temperature and winds.
Maybe most intriguing is that Zhurong has a ground-penetrating radar that can let it peer into exercise and buildings underground 100 meters deep—10 instances additional than Perseverance’s radar. The hope is that this instrument will have the ability to detect potential reserves of water ice underground. Water sources could possibly be a vital a part of establishing a colony on Mars someday. Utopia Planitia particularly is “a comparatively secure place to land and a doable place to seek out water,” says Wang.