China unveiled new photos of its Mars rover on the red planet on June 11. The rover called Zhurong landed on the Utopia Planitia region of Mars on May 15. This marks China’s first-ever Mars mission, the only second country to touch down on Mars after the United States. Back in May, the rover sent back images several days after landing. The new photos that have been released show a 360-degree panorama view of the landing area.
On June 12, China National Space Administration held a press conference that revealed the details of the Mars mission in Beijing. At the conference, Xu Hongliang, a China National Space Administration spokesperson, mentioned that the Mars mission achieved six firsts in the history of Chinese aerospace. Apart from detailing the intricacies of China’s Mars mission, Hongliang also mentioned that to ensure the safety of the Mars rover satellite, which is currently in orbit, China National Space Administration has decided to work with the US National Space Administration and the European Space Agency so that there could be an open flow of the data gathered from the Mars rover.
He further contended that during the Tianwen-1 Mars exploration mission, four space agencies, including the China National Space Administration and ESA, the French National Space Center, the Argentine Space Activities Committee, and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency provided extensive support and cooperation. China Aerospace is still in contact with relevant space agencies in France, Austria, Russia, and other countries over the Tianwen-1 Mars data.
Xu Hongliang also invoked the idea of how international cooperation over lunar and deep space exploration is an internationally accepted practice, thereby, the Chinese aerospace department will be open about the development that might take place in their Mars mission while also ensuring cooperation with other international space companies keeping in mind the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits.