China shares sights and sounds of its rover's first moves on Mars
Back in May, China became just the third nation to land on the surface of Mars as it touched down with its Tianwen-1 probe. Packed aboard was the country's first interplanetary rover, named Zhurong, which can be seen and heard making its very movements on the Red Planet in newly released recordings.
China's Tianwen-1 mission set off for Mars last July and came to land on a plain in the planet's northern hemisphere called Utopia Planitia following a 10-month journey. The Zhurong rover remained aboard the lander module for around a week surveying its surroundings and checking its instruments, before rolling down to the dusty surface to begin its explorations.
Recordings gathered by the China National Space Administration and shared by state-funded broadcaster CCTV show the rover's start to life on Mars in intriguing new light. The first includes the first audio collected by a Chinese Mars rover, with an onboard recording device capturing the sounds as its engine was started, of the Martian winds and of the machinations of the robot as it made its way down to the surface.
A separate recording offers the first visuals of the Zhurong in action, showing the rover making its first tracks across the Martian surface. Both the audio and footage were recorded on May 22, when Zhurong drove down from the landing platform.
Zhurong has since been working on the surface of Mars for 42 days, covering a distance of 236 meters (774 ft) in total. This makes China just the second country to operate a rover on the Red Planet. While the Soviet Union sent a pair of rovers to Mars in 1971, they crash landed and communications were cut just 20 seconds later.
The six-wheeled Zhurong rover will use cameras, a sub-surface radar, magnetic field detector and other scientific instruments to study the Red Planet. It is expected to have a lifetime of 90 days. The video below is the first to show it rolling across the surface.
Source: CCTV Video News Agency