I would like to know if there is independent evidence of any kind that China landed a robot on Mars in May 2021?

As of May 16, 2021, the last news on CNSA (China National Space Administration) site is this one:

Tianwen-1 probe will land on Mars in next few days


China’s first Mars exploration mission, Tianwen-1 probe has functioned normally since its successful launch on July 23rd, 2020. On February 10th, 2021, Tianwen-1 probe entered the Martian orbit for scientific exploration and huge amount of scientific data are available up to date. With the evaluation of the flight status, Tianwen-1 probe is scheduled to perform landing campaign targeting Utopia Planitia at the proper slot from the early morning of May 15th to May 19th Beijing time.

There is no other statement saying that the landing already happened.

By independent evidence I mean things like:

  • A UHF carrier, received by another state or hobbyist, that has a frequency drift consistent with a landing on Mars.
  • A picture made by MRO showing the Chinese lander on the soil.
  • etc.

Xinhua has an article: "China's probe lands on Mars" but the text is vague and quotes CNSA. Nothing is said about the health of the lander/rover and no pictures are available.

China's probe lands on Mars

Source: Xinhua| 2021-05-15 10:25:40|Editor: huaxia

enter image description here

The lander carrying China's first Mars rover has touched down on the red planet, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) confirmed on Saturday morning.

It is the first time China has landed a probe on a planet other than Earth.

The craft's plummet through the Martian atmosphere, lasting about nine minutes, was extremely complicated with no ground control, and had to be performed by the spacecraft autonomously, said Geng Yan, an official at the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the CNSA.

Tianwen-1, consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, was launched from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern China's island province of Hainan on July 23, 2020.

It was the first step in China's planetary exploration of the solar system, with the aim of completing orbiting, landing and roving on the red planet in one mission.

The spacecraft entered the Mars orbit in February after a journey of nearly seven months through space and spent more than two months surveying potential landing sites.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ UHF from a low-gain antenna on Mars will be hard to pick up from Earth, but I suppose it is possible. I think there have been previous questions about UHF from Mars to Earth and I answered something about the Green Bank Telescope which can receive such low frequencies. DSN dishes don't go that low as far as I know. These kinds of verifications generally do happen sooner or later. While Zhurong is not huge the rocket landing will have left a large disturbance in the dust, eventually an orbiter will pass over the right area during the day and try to image that. Stay tuned! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ Here it is Was the Doppler shift of InSight's “tone” measured and plotted somewhere? UHF tone monitoring has happened for several mars (and Moon) landing attempts, it's a good question! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 8:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not an answer since it's just confirmation of the landing attempt twitter.com/df2mz/status/1393240504020647941 $\endgroup$ Commented May 16, 2021 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ Relevant meta question: Should old questions by a deleted user be re-asked so someone can choose the accepted answer? $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 5:28

2 Answers 2


Yes, there is. This image from HiRISE shows the landing site of the Zhurong rover on Mars and the rover itself. See also BBC page which has the same image, as well as this Nature article

These images originate from a NASA orbiter, which I believe makes them independent.

I think this is moderately convincing evidence.

Zhurong from HiRISE

See this question which exists so there can be an accepted answer for reference.


By independent evidence I mean things like:

  • A UHF carrier, received by another state or hobbyist, that has a frequency drift consistent with a landing on Mars.

This page documents transmissions received around the landing time, received on a 20 m amateur dish.

Videos showing signal analysis are available on YouTube.

Update 2021-05-19: CNSA have released two surface pictures and two brief videos showing separation of the lander from the orbiter here.

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    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, Bochum did not track the landing itself: "After the HG antenna signal came back on, Bochum continued tracking the orbiter signal until Mars set at around 23:18 UTC. Bochum cannot track the lander directly. The lander is known to use proximity UHF to communicate with the orbiter, and an X-band beacon developed by Niajing Univ. The UHF link would be extremely weak. For the X-band beacon we didn’t know its frequency, and the signal would be quite weak, so trying to detect it would be like finding a needle in a haystack." (see: destevez.net/2021/05/tianwen-1-landing ) $\endgroup$
    – user39593
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 2:04

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