2021 has been a great year so far for space science and astronomy. This year, we have crossed one more milestone as China’s Zhurong Mars rover has become the second rover to sent back video and audio from the planet’s Utopia Planitia region.
On Sunday, Zhurong descended into the planet’s surface and has sent back to us the video of this amazing feat. The footage includes the deployment of its parachute and a uber-cool drive off from the Tianwen-1 landing platform. The drive off video also features sounds captured by the rover’s climate station.
Here is the video of Zhurong’s parachute deployment and descent.
Here is the video of the rover driving off from its lander (with sound).
As you listen to the second video you can notice how bizarre it sounds. It feels very alien and unnatural. Jia Yang, the deputy chief designer for Tianwen-1 has explained it as the sounds made by the pinion of the rover when it rotates on the rack.
With this Zhurong has achieved the same feat that NASA’s Perseverance rover managed to do last February. It is just magnificent to see how far we have come in terms of technology from the days we first started sending objects into Outerspace.
As more countries join in and pile on milestones, collectively we are walking closer to the dream of living life beyond the confines of our planet.