China lands on Mars in latest advance for its space program

China reached a new milestone Saturday after successfully landing a rover on Mars, becoming the only of nation besides the United States to send a rover to the red planet.

The news was first reported by Chinese state news agency, Xinhua. The vehicle, Zhurong, is named for the mythological Chinese god of fire and has already sent back its first image of the planet.

“The landing left a Chinese mark on Mars for the first time. It is another landmark progress in China’s space industry development,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a congratulatory message, Xinhua reported.

The six-wheeled Zhurong will spend three months on Mars searching for evidence of ancient life.

A high-resolution photo of the surface of Mars taken by China's Tianwen-1 probe as it orbits the planet.
A high-resolution photo of the surface of Mars taken by China’s Tianwen-1 probe as it orbits the planet.
CNSA via AP