Beijing: China has officially named the country’s first Mars rover Zhurong after the god of fire and war in Chinese mythology, China National Space Administration said on Saturday.
“On Saturday, a ceremony marking the opening of the Space Day of China took place in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, during which the name of the first Chinese Mars rover was announced. It was chosen based on the results of an international selection campaign, expert assessment and online voting. The rover was named Zhurong,” the statement said, adding that the name symbolized China’s intention “to light the fire of space research.”
The global campaign to collect variants of names for the first Chinese Mars rover was launched in July 2020, online voting on the proposed names took place from January 20 to February 28, 2021.
In February, China’s Mars probe Tianwen-1 successfully entered Mars’ parking orbit. The mission launched in July 2020 includes an orbiter and the rover, which will conduct exploratory works on the planet’s surface upon landing. If everything goes as planned, the first findings will be reported back to Earth within 2021. Scientists are planning to study the atmosphere, relief, geological characteristics and features of the red planet’s magnetic field, which will help scientists get a clue about the origin and evolution of Mars, and the entire solar system.
The Space Day of China also coincides with the 51st anniversary of the nation’s entry into space. On April 24, 1970, China’s first space satellite Dongfanghong-1 was put into orbit.