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Listen to the sounds of China’s Zhurong rover on the surface of Mars

It’s a little surreal

China’s Zhurong rover on the surface of Mars, next to its landing platform. Image: CNSA

In March, NASA released audio of its Perseverance rover firing lasers on the surface of Mars. Now China has released audio of what it says is its Zhurong rover arriving on the red planet and getting settled in, Space News reports. China has also released pictures of its Mars rover, which is unexpectedly cute as we saw in its first “selfie” a few weeks ago.

Listen to what it sounds like as Zhurong rolls down the ramp of its lander vehicle on to the surface (but just to manage your expectations: you’re not going to hear any “pew pew pew” noises).

The solar-powered Zhurong first landed on Mars in May, part of China’s Tianwen-1 mission which arrived in Mars’ orbit in February. After descending from the Tianwen-1 orbiter above the planet’s surface, Zhurong began its Martian journey on Utopia Planitia, a smooth plain where NASA’s Viking 2 lander touched down in 1976. That’s more than 1,000 miles away from the Jezero Crater where the US rover Perseverance touched down in February, however, so it’s not likely the two rovers will be hanging out together anytime soon. NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012, was spotted by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter climbing the planet’s Mont Mercou last month.

Zhurong, named for a Chinese god of fire, is almost halfway through its 90-day mission. But like other rovers on the red planet, it could continue to traverse Mars’ surface for several years.