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China completes historic Mars spacecraft landing

The Tianwen-1 spacecraft landed on a site on a vast plain known as Utopia Planitia, "leaving a Chinese footprint on Mars for the first time," Xinhua said.

The craft left its parked orbit at about 1700 GMT Friday. The landing module separated from the orbiter three hours later and entered the Martian atmosphere, the official China Space News said.

The official landing time was 2318 GMT, Xinhua said, citing the China National Space Administration. The rover took more than 17 minutes to unfold its solar panels and antenna and send signals to ground controllers.

The rover, named Zhurong, will now survey the landing site before departing from its platform to conduct inspections.

Named after a mythical Chinese god of fire, Zhurong has six scientific instruments including a high-resolution topography camera.