China names Mars rover for traditional fire god ‘Zhurong’

China’s first Mars rover will be named Zhurong after a traditional fire god, the media reported China National Space Administration (CNSA) as saying on China’s Space day. Zhurong is the god of fire in ancient Chinese mythology, which echoes the Chinese name of the red planet, Huoxing (meaning the planet of fire), the Xinhua reported.

Fire brought warmth and brightness to the ancestors of humankind, and fire lit up human civilisation. Naming China’s first Mars rover after the God of fire signifies igniting the flame of China’s planetary exploration, Wu Yanhua, Deputy Director of the CNSA, was quoted as saying. The rover is aboard the Tianwen-1 probe that arrived in Mars orbit on Feb. 24 and is due to land in May to look for evidence of life. It is part of Chinese space plans that include launching a crewed orbital station and landing a human on the moon. China in 2019 became the first country to land a space probe on the little-explored far side of the moon and in December returned lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.

China launched its Mars probe — Tianwen-1 — on July 23, last year. The spacecraft, consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, entered the parking orbit of Mars on February 24 this year..