[U: Touchdown — Safe!] In The Next Few Hours, US Time, China May Drop Its Mars Rover Onto The Very Same Plain Where NASA’s 1976 Era Viking Sits… In A Long-Held Silence…

Updated, late Friday evening: The CNSA Zhurong rover is now sitting safely, in the southern quarter of the vast plain called Utopia Planitia, on Mars. Kudos to the people of China! End update.

We will keep a good thought, and a weather-eye on eye on the horizon — well into the coming luminous dawn, tomorrow. . . so that this all goes off without a hitch. An echo, to NASA’s own first soft landing at Utopia Planitia, on what Edgar Rice Burroughs memorably called. . . Barsoom.

Here’s the latest, from the translated CNSA press release:

. . .The Tianwen-1 probe plans to choose an opportunity to land on the Martian Utopia Plain from the early morning of May 15 to May 19, Beijing time. . . .

Now — the video-feed, on YouTube, out of China. . .

It is fascinating that the Chinese rover will be driving in the same zip code as. . . Viking, from all the way back in 1976. Grinning ear to ear, now. . . onward, to the undiscovered country out there. . . rising in the Spring’s night sky, like a red coal, with a moan. . . .

नमस्ते

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