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Chinese probe Tianwen-1 makes successful landing on Red Planet

Chinese probe Tianwen-1 makes successful landing on Red Planet

Beijing: The Tianwen-1, the Chinese probe lander carrying its first Mars rover, was said to have made its landing on the Red Planet today in the morning, informed the China National Space Administration.

It is the first time China has landed a probe on a planet other than Earth, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The Mars exploration mission has been a total success," Zhang Kejian, head of the CNSA, announced at the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre.

"It's another important milestone for China's space exploration," he said.

The Tianwen-1 probe touched down at its pre-selected landing area in the southern part of Utopia Planitia, a vast plain on the northern hemisphere of Mars, at 7.18 a.m. (Beijing Time) on Saturday, the CNSA announced.

It took ground controllers more than an hour to establish the success of the pre-programmed landing. They had to wait for the rover to autonomously unfold its solar panels and antenna to send the signals after landing, and there was a time delay of more than 17 minutes due to the 320-million-km distance between Earth and Mars.

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 was the first step in China's planetary exploration of the solar system, with the aim of completing orbiting, landing and roving on the red planet in one mission.

The spacecraft entered the Mars orbit in February after a journey of nearly seven months through space and spent more than two months surveying potential landing sites.

In the early hours of Saturday, the spacecraft began to descend from its parking orbit, and the entry capsule enclosing the lander and rover separated from the orbiter at about 4 a.m.

The rover Zhurong will take a further seven to eight days to detect the surrounding environment and conduct self-checks before moving down from the lander to the Martian surface, according to Geng.

President Xi Jinping has also congratulated all those involved in making this mission successful.

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TAGS:China Tianwen-1 Mars mission 
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