Mock-up of canceled Mars Surveyor 2001 rover, tabled after the triple failure of Mars Polar Lander, Deep Space 2, and Mars Climate Orbiter in the late 1990s.
China looked to the sky as it named its first Mars rover after a mythical god of fire and war.
To mark its National Space Day on Saturday, China’s space agency CNSA announced the name of its next Mars rover, Zhurhou, after an ancient fire god.
It fits with China ‘s ambitious Red Planet plans, which it calls the Huo Xing or Fire Star, which involve the third country after the U.S. and former Soviet Union to send a robot there, the Chinese space agency said on Saturday.
Launched in July 2020 as a call-in and retrieval initiative with online voting, the proposal and retrieval campaign will take place between 20 January and 28 February 2021, just four days after the current Tianwen-1 mission to Mars went into orbit on 24 February.
The country envisages a manned space station and aims to land a human on the moon.
The rover measures 1.85 meters in length and weighs around 240 kilograms and has been laid out for a life expectancy of three Martian months or approximately 92 earth-days.
Chinese officials say they hope to search for evidence of water ice and plan to examine the climate and the surface surroundings.