China just successfully landed robotic spacecraft Tianwen-1, consisting its first rover called 'Zhurong', on Mars to become only the second country to do so after the United States.

Tianwen-1 reached the surface of the Red Planet Friday (May 14) at approximately 7:11 p.m. EDT (2311 GMT), though Chinese space officials have not yet confirmed the exact time and location of touchdown. Tianwen-1 (which translates to "Heavenly Questions") arrived in Mars' orbit in February after launching to the Red Planet on a Long March 5 rocket in July 2020.

If all systems remain functional, the lander would deploy the rover, which is designed to explore the surface for 90 Martian days.

Zhurong, which is a 6-wheeled rover, has a size of NASA's twin Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, carries six scientific instruments on board, including two panoramic cameras, a ground-penetrating radar and a magnetic field detector. It also has a laser that it can use to break-off rocks and study their composition, as well as a meteorological instrument to study the climate and weather on Mars.

China is now the second nation to successfully land a Mars rover. The U.S. 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. The European Space Agency (ESA) has attempted two Mars landings, but both spacecraft crashed.

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