China National Space Administration (CNSA) released two pictures taken by the Zhurong rover on Mars.
The pictures show the equipment of the rover, which landed on the Red Planet on May 14, 2021, as well as bits of the surrounding landscape.
The rover itself still sits on the landing platform, but the ramp to the surface is already extended and ready for the miniature vehicle to roll out.
We have a Hi-Res visual! This is #Zhurong (#Tianwen1) Mars Rover reporting to Earthlings! I’m currently at 109.9E, 25.1N, Utopia Planitia, Mars. All look good! Preparing for the final deployment and scientific missions. Water/Ice under Mars 100m-deep surface? About to find out! pic.twitter.com/xkh39C2y3n— Chinese Zhurong Mars Rover (@MarsZhurong) May 19, 2021
According to CNSA, the robot is currently performing system checks and studying its surroundings. It will be ready to leave the platform and start the journey on either May 22 or 23.
The landing on May 14 made China the second country to successfully soft land its probe on Mars and CNSA – the second space agency to operate a robotic vehicle on the planet.
Zhurong, which weighs 240 kilograms (530 pounds), is comparable in size to Spirit and Opportunity rovers NASA landed on Mars in 2004. It carries an array of instruments to measure Martian soil and atmosphere and is expected to be operational for up to three months