The next battleground between the US and China is Mars. While space has always been a domain for superpower rivalry, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) successfully landed a rover, called Zhu Rong, on the Red Planet. Now two images have been sent back to Earth to show the success.
CNSA released a couple of pictures on its website of the rover, which touched down in the southern part of Utopia Planitia, a large plain on the northern hemisphere of Mars. Here are the first images from the rover since it landed on the Red Planet last Saturday.
"The first photograph, a black and white image, was taken by an obstacle avoidance camera installed in front of the Mars rover. The image shows that a ramp on the lander has been extended to the surface of Mars. The terrain of the rover's forward direction is clearly visible in the image, and the horizon of Mars appears curved due to the wide-angle lens," CNSA said.
"The second image, a color photo, was taken by the navigation camera fitted to the rear of the rover. The rover's solar panels and antenna are seen unfolded, and the red soil and rocks on the Martian surface are clearly visible in the image," CNSA said.
Space is no longer limited to the original Cold War superpowers (US & Russia). China has to been thrown into the mix after being the second country to land a rover on Mars.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson congratulated China for successfully landing a rover on Mars and warned Congress of China's competitive threat to US leadership in space.
China is becoming more active in space, especially on the Red Planet, alongside the US who already has NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance probing for life. The US rover recently launched a helicopter, called Ingenuity, already performing five successful flights.
Mars will become the next domain for superpower rivalry because the planet has an abundance of rare metals that will power tomorrow's economy.