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China's Zhurong rover outlives three-month life expectancy on Mars, Beijing extends service

As China pushes for deeper exploration of the universe with plans to dominate the modern space race, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) declared that the Zhurong rover| trundling on the surface of Mars has achieved the tasks it set out to. The agency has now extended its service life on the alien world.

The administration announced that the 1.85-meter-tall robot completed its three-month life expectancy, "with all of its predetermined tasks completed," and that it will continue carrying out an extended expedition toward an ancient coastal area of Utopia Planitia.

The rover is in the large plain area within the largest known impact basin in the solar system.

Zhurong is the sixth rover to move on the Martian surface after five from the United States. It is currently joined by Nasa's Perseverance rover and the Curiosity rover that are exploring the uninhabitable world looking for signs of ancient microbial life within the surface. The three rovers are separated by thousands of kilometres on the Red Planet.

The 240-kilogram robot is the core component of the Tianwen-1 mission, the country's first interplanetary adventure that created history by orbiting, landing and roving on Mars, all in its maiden attempt. Since its arrival on the surface, the Zhurong rover has obtained about 10 gigabytes of primary data and has moved close to a kilometre. It first touched down cocooned inside the lander on May 15 and separated from its landing platform a week later.


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