China lands its Zhurong rover on Mars, state media announced early on Saturday.
The six-wheeled Zhurong robot was targeting Utopia Planitia, a vast terrain in the planet’s northern hemisphere.
The vehicle used a combination of a protective capsule, a parachute and a rocket platform to make the descent.
The successful touchdown is a remarkable achievement, given the difficult nature of the task.
Only the Americans have really mastered landing on Mars until now. With this landing, China becomes the second country to put a rover on Mars.
Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated the team’s “outstanding achievement” in a special message.
“You were brave enough for the challenge, pursued excellence and placed our country in the advanced ranks of planetary exploration,” he said.
The probe officially landed at 07:18 on Saturday, Beijing time (Friday 23:18 GMT), according to state media. It took 17 minutes to unfold its solar panels and send a signal back to Earth.
Zhurong, which means God of Fire, was carried to Mars on the Tianwen-1 orbiter, which arrived above the planet in February.
The time since has been spent surveying Utopia, taking high-resolution images to pinpoint the safest place to put down.
The aim with all such ventures is to pick a spot, as far as possible, that is devoid of imposing craters and large boulders.
The current distance to Mars is 320 million km, which means radio messages take almost 18 minutes to reach Earth.
Now that Zhurong has got down successfully, scientists will try to get at least 90 Martian days of service out of it, studying the local geology.