China’s Mars rover touches ground on red planet


China’s first Mars rover has driven down from its landing platform and is now roaming the surface of the red planet, China’s space administration said Saturday.

The solar-powered rover touched Martian soil at 10:40 a.m. Saturday Beijing time (0240 GMT), the China National Space Administration said.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Zhang Rongqiao, right, the chief designer of China's Mars exploration mission, talks with Wu Weiren, second from left, the chief designer of China's lunar exploration project, at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, Saturday, May 22, 2021. China's first Mars rover has driven down from its landing platform and is now roaming the surface of the red planet, China's space administration said Saturday. (Jin Liwang/Xinhua via AP)

In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Zhang Rongqiao, right, the chief designer of China’s Mars exploration mission, talks with Wu Weiren, second from left, the chief designer of China’s lunar exploration project, at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, Saturday, May 22, 2021. China’s first Mars rover has driven down from its landing platform and is now roaming the surface of the red planet, China’s space administration said Saturday. (Jin Liwang/Xinhua via AP)

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China has ambitious space plans that include launching a crewed orbital station and landing a human on the moon. China in 2019 became the first country to land a space probe on the little-explored far side of the moon, and in December returned lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.

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