China’s probe to Mars touched down on the Red Planet early Saturday to deploy its Zhurong rover, state media reported.
The lander carrying Zhurong completed the treacherous descent through the Martian atmosphere using a parachute to navigate the “seven minutes of terror” as it is known, aiming for a vast northern lava plain known as the Utopia Planitia.
The mission “successfully landed in the pre-selected area,” state broadcaster CCTV said, launching a special TV program dedicated to the mission called “Nihao Mars.”
The official Xinhua news agency cited the China National Space Administration (CNSA) in confirming the touchdown.
It makes China the first country to carry out an orbiting, landing and roving operation during its first mission to Mars — a feat unmatched by the only other two nations to reach the Red Planet so far, the US and Russia.
China has now sent astronauts into space, powered probes to the Moon and landed a rover on Mars, the most prestigious of all prizes in the competition for dominion of space