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China's Mars rover Zhurong is sharing images of the red planet. What does this mean for humans on Mars? Learn everything you need to know.

After landing a rover on Mars, will China send humans soon?

The next great frontier, in terms of space travel, is heading to Mars. For years & years, space agencies across the world have been sending a variety of rovers to the red planet in order to check things out. Could Mars support life? Could humans live on Mars? These are the questions that many big brains are currently pondering. Hopefully, without leaving Matt Damon stuck in space.

One of the countries with a rover currently on Mars is China. The Zhurong Mars rover is part of China’s Tianwen-1 probe into the planet done by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). The achievement is big for China, who is the second country after the US to land a rover on Mars. The real question is, for any country, could humans on Mars be the next step? 

Let’s take a look at the Tianwen-1 probe, the Zhurong rover, and everything else you need to know about this huge achievement for the CNSA. After that, we’ll ponder the question of whether China will attempt to send humans to Mars. Our guess is no, there are still some issues about space travel for that long. But, hey, who knows? Let’s take a look at the lay of the land first.

The Tianwen-1 probe

The Tianwen-1 probe, which translates to “quest for heavenly truth”, is made up of an orbiter, lander, and a six-wheeled rover carrying scientific instruments. The probe was launched back in July 2020, so almost a year ago. It entered the orbit of Mars in Feb 2021. The rover, Zhurong, did not touch Martian soil until May, where it is patrolling & exploring as part of a three-month mission on the planet.

In a press release on Sunday, the CNSA said, “The ‘Zhurong’ rover has been working on the surface of Mars for 42 Martian days and has traveled 236 meters in total. The orbiter and the rover are in good working condition. (They are) reporting safety from Mars to the Party and the motherland, sending distant blessings at the time of the (Communist Party of China) centennial.”

The CNSA hopes that the Tianwen-1 probe will gather important information on Mars’ geological structure along with searching for signs of water. They are also looking at the atmosphere, environment, soil, and other important necessities to sustain life on another planet for the long-term. Other scientists, however, are interested in comparing the footage from CNSA & NASA in order to get a clearer picture of Mars.

Could China be heading to Mars? 

Honestly? If China was planning to head to Mars, then it would be quite awhile to get there. And that’s the same for the US as well. That’s not getting to other countries who have orbited the planet, but not dropped a rover on it yet. It’s a plan for many countries to one day send humans to live on the planet. Billionaire & Space Karen, Elon Musk said that he’d like to send people to Mars as early as 2026.

More realistic is the United Arab Emirates, who have a 100-year plan to one day send people to the planet. Scientists who aren’t halfway crazy said that, currently, there are too many questions about the long term effects of space travel along with long term effects of living on another planet. Plus, there’s cosmic radiation to deal with, which is a big factor of Mars’ atmosphere.

Then there’s distance. Mars is far. Listen, we’ve been as far as the Moon, which is impressive, but, well, if something goes wrong, help is relatively close by. By relatively, we mean it’s much, much closer to Mars. So, yes, the plan to send humans to Mars is definitely a “one day” sort of thing. 

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