PolyU celebrates role in Mars rover landing

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) celebrated the successful landing on Saturday of the Zhurong rover on Mars, saying it was an achievement for the country and an honour for the two PolyU research teams that had contributed to the Tianwen-1 mission.

“They played a vital role in landing site mapping and evaluation, as well as in the development of a sophisticated space instrument, the Mars Landing Surveillance Camera,” said Professor Jin-Guang Teng, the university’s president.

Professor Teng said the two research teams came from different disciplines and that PolyU had recently set up the University Research Centre for Deep Space Explorations, led by Professor Yung Kai-leung.

A spokeswoman said PolyU was the only Hong Kong university to be involved in the mission. She said the university would be providing more details at a later date.

The unmanned Tianwen-1 mission to Mars blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Centre in Hainan last July using a Long March 5 rocket.

Its module, consisting of an orbiter, lander and the Zhurong rover, arrived at the planet in February. It then began its orbit of Mars to select a suitable landing site.

Once deployed, Zhurong will study the planet’s surface soil and atmosphere.