China’s Zhurong Mars rover rolls onto the Martian surface (photos)

China’s first rover on Mars, the six-wheeled Zhurong, rolled onto the Red Planet’s surface late Friday (May 21) to begin exploring its new home: the vast Martian plain of Utopia Planitia.

Zhurong, which landed on Mars a week earlier on May 14, drove on to the Martian surface from its landing platform at 10:40 p.m. EDT on Friday (10:40 a.m. Saturday, May 22 Beijing Time). It is expected to spend the next 90 days mapping the area, searching for signs of water ice, monitoring weather and studying the surface composition.

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