We’ve got another update from China’s mission to Mars — one you can actually hear.
On Sunday, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shared new video and, for the first time, audio captured by its Zhurong rover, considered the centerpiece of the country’s Tianwen-1 mission to the Red Planet.
The first clip below shows the rover, which launched from Earth on July 23, 2020 and arrived on Mars in the spring of 2021, traversing a vast crater known as Utopia Planitia, roughly 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) northeast of NASA’s Perseverance rover.
“The orbiter and the Mars rover are in good working condition, reporting safely from Mars to the party and the motherland, and sending distant blessings on the century of the party’s founding,” read an official CNSA statement, per BBC.
A diverse landscape with underground ice, volcanoes, sand dunes, and more, Utopia Planitia was selected by the CNSA for Zhurong’s approximately 90-day exploration in furtherance of humanity’s search for signs of ancient life. Another clip shows Zhurong wiggling its wheels next to its landing platform, a key part of its harrowing parachute landing from May 14.
These images were captured using a wireless camera Zhurong is able to deposit on the ground and then pick up back up. But a final clip, captured from a camera attached to Zhurong’s center mast, shows the rover first setting its wheels on the Martian surface — and includes audio of the rover’s mechanics at work.
CNSA scientists have said they hope to use the audio system to capture wind sounds on Mars, something we’ll hopefully hear in a future clip.