China’s Mars probe Zhurong landed on the red planet just this past week making it a big milestone to cross for the far-east Asian country. Even though this won’t be the first space mission from Earth to Mars, this will be the first and successful attempt by the Chinese space agency.
The Zhurong space Mars rover has also sent its first images from Mars according to the China National Space Administration confirming this on Monday. The Zhurong is part of the Tianwen-1 mission which is China’s first attempt to reach the surface of another planet.
In a report released via state-run China Daily, CNSA Deputy Director Wu Yanhua made it know that Zhurong will perform diagnostics and over off its landing platform over the course of next few days and then take its first set of pictures of the planet.
Unlike NASA which is funded by the US government, the CNSA which is obviously run by the Chinese government still continues to maintain close proximity with censorship and not releasing information as soon as they come.
For instance, when the NASA Perseverance Rover touched down on the Red Planet many weeks ago, NASA ensured it released its first views of Mars as soon as it possibly can but this isn’t so about the Zhurong.
While some space fans on social media have expressed concern about a lack of images from Zhurong, journalist Andrew Jones — who covers China’s space program for SpaceNews — suggested on Twitter the delay may be due in part to the fact that this is China’s first rover on the red planet.
Even though many people might be concerned about the wellbeing of the rover on the red planet, communication between such a distance back and forth to Earth usually take lots of time and just as NASA made it known during the early days of the Perseverance Rover on Mars, it usually take couple of days before images gotten are processed and then released.
The same might just be the case with the Chinese Zhurong Mars Rover. The China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft remains in Mars’ orbit and is meant to help relay information back and forth from the rover which gets sent to satellites orbiting Earth which then gets received at the CNSA headquarters.
China had also crossed some milestones this year among which is the landing on the far side of the moon as well as returning moon rocks back to Earth via the Chang’e 5 mission and launching the core module of a new space station in Earth’s orbit back in April.
While many might be in haste to get the latest images of the red planet from Zhurong, it might be worth the wait especially in its landing site the Utopia Planitia.