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China to announce name of its first Mars rover

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-04-19 16:05
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Illustration of Tianwen 1 probe entering Martian orbit. [Photo provided to China Daily]

BEIJING -- China will announce the name of its first Mars rover on the Space Day of China, which falls on April 24, according to the China National Space Administration.

Nanjing, capital city of East China's Jiangsu province, will host the main events marking this year's Space Day of China, Lyu Bo, a CNSA official, told a press conference on Monday.

The events include the opening ceremony, bilateral talks on the international lunar research station, and the fourth China Space Conference.

The name of China's first Mars rover will be announced at the opening ceremony on Saturday, Lyu said.

China launched Tianwen-1 on July 23, 2020. The spacecraft, consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, entered the parking orbit of Mars after performing an orbital maneuver on Feb. 24.

The global campaign of naming the rover kicked off last July. Netizens at home and abroad were invited to vote for their favorite among 10 candidates from Jan 20 to Feb 28.

Last month, three possible names emerged, with "Zhurong," a fire god in ancient Chinese mythology, topping the list.

In 2016, China set April 24 as the country's Space Day to mark the launch of its first satellite "Dongfanghong-1" into space on April 24, 1970.

The various activities on Space Day have become a window for the Chinese public and the world to better understand China's aerospace progress.

This year, about 300 activities will be held across the country. The public will have the opportunity to visit several space pavilions, space facilities, labs and workshops. Academicians and experts will give speeches on space science on campus.

In Nanjing, lunar samples as well as the Chang'e-5 return capsule and parachute will be on display.

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