China releases videos of its Zhurong Mars rover

Scientists are hoping to get at least 90 Martian days of service out of Zhurong.

The robot looks a lot like the American space agency’s (Nasa) Spirit and Opportunity vehicles from the 2000s.

It weighs some 240kg. A tall mast carries cameras to take pictures and aid navigation; five additional instruments will investigate the mineralogy of local rocks and the general nature of the environment, including the weather.

Like the current American rovers (Curiosity and Perseverance), Zhurong has a laser tool to zap rocks to assess their chemistry. It also has a radar to look for sub-surface water-ice – a capability it shares with Perseverance.

Videos of the landing of Perseverance were released by Nasa shortly after its descent to the Martian surface on 18 February.

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