Meet ‘Zhurong’: China names Tianwen-1 Mars rover ahead of mid-May landing attempt

China has named its first-ever Mars rover “Zhurong” after an historical fireplace god ahead of a landing attempt on the Red Planet in May.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) revealed the identify on the sixth China Space Day held in Nanjing on Saturday (April 24).

Zhurong was the preferred of 10 shortlisted names for a public vote that opened in January, and that selection was backed by an skilled panel and the CNSA itself.

Related: The latest news about China’s space program

Going with the fireplace god is apt, for the Chinese identify for Mars, “Huoxing,” actually means “fire star.”

The roughly 530-lb. (240 kilograms) solar-powered Zhurong rover is a component of the Tianwen-1 mission, which launched in July 2020 and arrived in orbit round Mars in February. 

The Tianwen-1 orbiter has been accumulating high-resolution photos of Zhurong’s goal landing website in Utopia Planitia. The landing attempt is predicted in mid-May, according to a senior Chinese space scientist.

The rover carries panoramic and multispectral cameras and devices to research the composition of rocks. Zhurong will even examine subsurface traits with ground-penetrating radar, if all goes in line with plan.

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