China's rover starts exploration of Mars

China says its Mars rover has successfully driven onto the planet's surface, making it the second country after the United States to operate a rover on Mars.

State-run China Central Television reported that the Zhurong set its wheels on Martian soil at 2:40 UTC on Saturday.

The six-wheeled solar-powered rover was carried to Mars one week ago by probe Tianwen-1, China's first spacecraft to have landed on the planet.

Zhurong has a mass of 240 kilograms, and is equipped with various scientific instruments, including sophisticated cameras, sub-surface exploration radar, and surface-composition detector.

The rover's mission will include recording the Martian landscape, and analyzing the material composition of the planet's surface.

China's media report that Chinese analysts say the mission is "breaking the US monopoly" in Mars exploration.