The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has finally grounded and stationed the rover component of its Mars mission, Tianwen-1. According to China’s state media, the lander and rover reliably touched down on Mars during the early hours of 15th May in China. The rover marked Zhurong was brought online in the following days, and the CNSA released its first images on 19th May.
“As the international scientific center of robotic pioneers on Mars rises, the U.S and the world look forward to the results Zhurong will tend to make to advance humanity’s knowledge of the Red Planet,” Nelson declared in the statement. “I look forward to future international discoveries, that helps inform and develop the capacities needed to land human boots on Mars.”
Simultaneously, NASA issued the press release that Nelson claimed before the House Appropriations Committee’s commerce, justice & science subcommittee. At that time, he used the Zhurong landing as a warning against American contentment in space exploration.
“I want you to see this photograph,” he stated, displaying one of the Zhurong images. He argued that the landing was evidence that China was sedate about sending spacecraft to Mars & Moon, including human missions. “I think that is adding a new element as to whether or not we wanna get serious and to get a lot of activity going in landing humans back on moon’s surface.”
Recently, China brought back lunar samples, the first by any country’s space program since the 1970s, and landed an exploration and rover on the moon’s less explored far side. China even launched two smaller experimental space stations earlier. It’s been excluded from the International Space Station mainly at the insistence of the United States, which is wary of the secrecy surrounding the Chinese space program and its close military links. Congressional approval is required for any cooperation between NASA & the CNSA.