News World China claims to have deployed its first rover on Mars

China claims to have deployed its first rover on Mars

A model of the Chinese Mars rover. Photo: AAP
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Chinese state-run media says the nation’s space agency has landed its first spacecraft on Mars.

The official Xinhua News Agency said on Saturday that the lander had touched down, citing the China National Space Administration.

The Tianwen-1 spacecraft landed on a site on the Southern Utopia Plain, “leaving a Chinese footprint on Mars for the first time,” Xinhua said.

The spacecraft left its parked orbit around 3am AEST and entered the Martian atmosphere about three hours later.

Xinhua said the landing process consisted of “nine minutes of terror” as the module decelerated and then slowly descended.

The lander was carrying a rover that was deployed on the red planet, making China the second nation to deploy one, behind the United States.

The six-wheel robot called Zhurong marks a major leap in China’s space program, which has managed to launch an orbiter, lander and rover in a single mission.

It is solar powered and will survey the landing site before departing from its platform to conduct inspections.

The rover will study the planet’s surface soil and atmosphere.