ZHURONG-The Chinese Mars Rover Named After Mythical Fire God - Craffic
Artist's illustration of China's Tianwen-1 Mars rover, which has been named "Zhurong," on the Red Planet. (Credit: CNSA/CLEP)

The Chinese rover which is due to land on the Red Planet has been given the name Zhurong after “Zhu Rong” who is considered the earliest God of fire in Chinese culture. The announcement regarding the name of the rover was made by CNSA(Chinese national space administration) on April 24, 2021, which has been designated as the Space day of China. The Rover’s name composes perfectly with the Chinese name for planet MarsHuo Xing, which stands for “The Fire Star”.

The Rover (Zhurong) is a part of the Tainwen-1 interplanetary mission by the China national space administration. The purpose of this mission is to send a spacecraft to mars which consist of an orbiter, a deployable camera, a lander, and the Zhurong rover. The spacecraft carrying all these objects carries 13 scientific instruments along with it and weighs nearly 5 tons, making it one of the heaviest probes ever launched to Mars.

The spacecraft was launched by Long March 5 heavy launch vehicle on July 23, 2020.

After traveling for around 7 months it finally placed itself in mars’ orbit on February 10, 2021, by using thrust from its engines to slow it down.

The mission is planned to last for 275 days, 21 hours, and 20 minutes since the day of the spacecraft’s launch. Here are important things about the mission you should know about:

  • Mission type: Planetary Science with an orbiter, lander, and rover
  • Operator: CNSA
  • The rocket used for launch: Long March 5
  • Launch Site: Wenchang LC-101
  • Launch mass: 5000kg
  • Objectives of the mission:
    1. To study the evolution and geological structure of mars.
    2. To study the distribution of water and ice on the planet and the characteristics of layers of soil on both surface, and underground.
    3. To study the composition of minerals and rocks present on mars.
    4. To study the atmosphere of Mars, (particularly the ionosphere) its climate, and the seasons.
    5. To study the history of mars and the internal distribution of its mass and gravitational field.
    6. Searching for evidence of past and present life.
    7. Producing surface maps.
  • The landing site of Zhurong Rover: Utopia Planitia
  • Weight: 530lb (240kg)
  • Powered by: Solar Energy
  • Equipment carried:
    1. Ground Penetrating Radar
    2. Navigation and topography camera
    3. Multi-spectrum camera
    4. Magnetic field detector
    5. Mars surface compound detector
    6. Meteorological Measurement Instrument 
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(160823) — BEIJING, Aug. 23, 2016 (Xinhua) — Picture released on Aug. 23, 2016, by lunar probe and space project center of Chinese State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence shows the concept portraying what the Mars rover and lander would look like.

This mission also serves as a technology demonstration which is required for the expected Mars return sample mission which has been proposed for the 2030s. Tainwen-1 plays an important role as it will store the soil and rock samples which will be later retrieved by the Mars return sample mission.

If all goes well, China will record its name in History as the Third nation in the world to put a rover on the planet Mars after U.S.A and Russia.

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