An uncrewed Chinese spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of Mars on May 15, state news agency Xinhua reported, making China the second space-faring nation after the US to land on the Red Planet, Report informs referring to Reuters.
The Tianwen-1 spacecraft landed on a site on a vast plain known as Utopia Planitia, "leaving a Chinese footprint on Mars for the first time," Xinhua said.
The rover, named Zhurong, will now survey the landing site before departing from its platform to conduct inspections. Named after a mythical Chinese god of fire, Zhurong has six scientific instruments including a high-resolution topography camera.
It will study the planet's surface soil and atmosphere. Zhurong will also look for signs of ancient life, including any sub-surface water and ice, using a ground-penetrating radar.
Tianwen-1, or "Questions to Heaven", after a Chinese poem written two millennia ago, is China's first independent mission to Mars. A probe co-launched with Russia in 2011 failed to leave the Earth's orbit.
China is pursuing an ambitious space program. It is testing reusable spacecraft and is also planning to establish manned lunar research station.
Xinhua said China was “not looking to compete for leadership in space” but was committed to “unveiling the secrets of the universe and contributing to humanity’s peaceful use of space.”