The China National Space Administration (CNSA) joined the rat race to explore Mars after the launch of its Tianwen-1 probe, consisting of an orbiter and a rover named Zhurong, which entered Mars orbit on 10 February 2021, APA reports citing Sputnik.
CNSA has announced that based on the current flight situation of the probe, Zhurong will be landing on Mars’ Utopian flatlands between early May 15 and May 19, Beijing time. According to observers, the landing could come on the 15th, since Tianwen-1 was spotted likely engaging in a maneuver to prepare for launching the surface lander earlier on Friday.
This represents a large leap for China as the 46th human mission to Mars since the former Soviet Union attempted to launch a Mars-bound spacecraft in 1960. So far, only the US space agency NASA has successfully operated a rover on the Martian surface, although the USSR landed a probe on Mars and several European probes to the red planet crashed.