X

China Just Joined an Elite Mars Club

Nation landed a spacecraft on the red planet
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 15, 2021 12:22 PM CDT

(Newser) – China landed a spacecraft on Mars for the first time on Saturday, a technically challenging feat more difficult than a moon landing, in the latest step forward for its ambitious goals in space. Plans call for a rover to stay in the lander for a few days of diagnostic tests before rolling down a ramp to explore an area of Mars known as Utopia Planitia, per the AP. It will join an American rover that arrived at the red planet in February. China’s first Mars landing follows its launch last month of the main section of what will be a permanent space station and a mission that brought back rocks from the moon late last year.

story continues below

“China has left a footprint on Mars for the first time, an important step for our country’s space exploration,” the official Xinhua News Agency said in announcing the landing on one of its social media accounts. The US has had nine successful landings on Mars since 1976. The Soviet Union landed on the planet in 1971, but the mission failed after the craft stopped transmitting information soon after touchdown. A rover and a tiny helicopter from the American landing in February are currently exploring Mars. NASA expects the rover to collect its first sample in July for return to Earth in a decade. (Read more about that historic NASA helicopter.)

(Read more China stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X