The world waits to see if China’s first Mars rover survived

A photo of Mars captured by China’s Tianwen-1 probe in February. | Photo: Xinhua via Getty Images

Tonight, China attempted to land a pair of robots on the surface of Mars, making a daring bid to become the second country to land and operate a rover on the Red Planet. The Tianwen-1 spacecraft, which has been orbiting Mars since February, ejected a rover and lander bundled together for a seven-minute plunge through the thin Martian atmosphere.

By now, China should know whether its mission was a success or failure, as enough time has now elapsed since its decent to send a signal back to Earth — but there’s been no official word on its fate, and may not be for hours yet, according to experts tracking China’s space program.

The mission marks China’s first independent trek to Mars, about 200 million miles away from Earth. Only NASA has…

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