China’s Mars rover touches ground on red planet

BEIJING (AP) — China’s first Mars rover has driven down from its landing platform and is now roaming the surface of the red planet. The China National Space Administration says the solar-powered rover touched Martian soil at 10:40 a.m. Beijing time Saturday. China landed the spacecraft carrying the rover on Mars last Saturday, a first for the country. It’s a technically challenging feat more difficult than a moon landing. The rover is expected to be deployed for 90 days to search for evidence of life. China has ambitious space plans that include a crewed orbital station and landing a human on the moon. The U.S. also has an ongoing Mars mission, with the Perseverance rover and a tiny helicopter exploring the planet.