China’s Mars rover drove around the world for the first time Saturday, a week after landing, according to the country’s space agency.
The six-wheeled, solar-powered rover, Zhurong, named after the Chinese god of fire, drove down the ramp of its landing capsule Saturday morning, the China National Space Administration announced.
According to CNN, China is also the second country after the United States to fly a rover on Mars. China landed the rover on Mars last week, becoming the second country to do so after the United States, and sending back the first photographs from its Tianwen-1 space mission on Wednesday.
After launching from the Chinese island of Hainan on July 23, the orbiter reached Mars orbit in February.
Zhurong, which weighs 530 pounds, is equipped with six scientific instruments, including a high-resolution topography telescope, and will spend 90 days exploring Mars’ earth, soil, and atmosphere. It can also search for signs of life, such as water and ice, using a ground-penetrating radar.
China’s Mars rover is one of three currently working on Mars.
NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity’s mission was extended for another 30 days on April 30 for the United States, so the mini-aircraft could serve as a scout for the rover Perseverance. The mission of the rover is to drill for rock samples that might provide evidence of ancient life on Mars.
According to NASA engineers, Perseverance made the first drive on Mars in March, taking photographs of its own wheel marks in the Martian soil.
NASA’s rover, Curiosity, which landed in 2012, is the third robotic rover operating on Mars.