China lands unmanned spacecraft on Mars

An unmanned Chinese spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of Mars on Saturday, Chinese state news agency Xinhua has reported, making China the second space-faring nation after the United States to land on the red planet.

The official Xinhua news agency said the lander had touched down, citing the China National Space Administration.

China’s Tianwen-1 probe, consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, was launched from southern China’s island province of Hainan in July around the same time as a US mission.

It sent back its first picture of Mars in February. A photo released by the China National Space Administration showed geological features including the Schiaparelli crater and the Valles Marineris, a vast stretch of canyons on the Martian surface.

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