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China releases new images from Zhurong rover to mark 100 days on Mars

By Zarrin Ahmed
China releases new images from Zhurong rover to mark 100 days on Mars
In the 100 days the rover has been operating, it's traveled a little more than a half-mile from the orbiter. Photo courtesy China National Space Administration

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- China's national space agency on Monday gave an update and released new images of its Zhurong rover to mark its 100th day in operation on Mars.

The China National Space Administration issued the photos, which showed the path of the rover since it left the Tianwen-1 orbiter in May. The agency said the new images were taken about a week ago.

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In the 100 days the rover has been operating, it's traveled a little more than a half-mile from the orbiter.

The orbiter and rover landed on Mars on May 15 in Beijing's first landing on the Red Planet.

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The 6-foot tall, 550-lb rover has outlived its three-month expectancy with all of its tasks completed, the CNSA said earlier this month.

"Tianwen-1 is the latest example of China's rapidly expanding presence in outer space, following a string of recent accomplishments that include putting the first section of the country's permanent space station into orbit, returning the first lunar samples to Earth in more than four decades and completing a global navigation satellite network," the agency said in a statement.

The rover previously sent pictures of a vast Martian plain called Utopia four days after landing.

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The orbiter was launched from the island province of Hainan on July 23, 2020, and entered Mars orbit seven months later. The rover is named after the Chinese god of fire, Zhurong.

China is the second country to land a rover on the surface of Mars. The United States has landed five rovers on the Red Planet, including the Perseverance rover in February. Russia landed a probe on Mars in 1971, but immediately lost contact with the equipment.

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