The Chinese rover Zhurong successfully left the platform and began to explore Mars. This was announced by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Saturday.
Surface photographs taken by the Zhurong rover indicate that preparations for its deployment were successful: the rover uncovered the solar panels that power it, and also extended a communications antenna with which it communicates with the Tianwen-1 orbiter.
The rover is located in Utopia Planitia, a plain, under the surface of which, according to scientists, there may be ice deposits. This means that in the past, there could be life on the Red Planet. For this purpose, Zhurong has a subsurface ice locator. The rover will also explore rocks – for this, it is equipped with a laser tool to break rocks.
The main goal of the mission is to find possible traces of life on Mars and help scientists understand if conditions on the Red Planet may change in the future so that it becomes suitable for human life.