The Name of China’s First Mars Rover: Zhu Rong [祝融]

The Name of China's First Mars Rover: Zhu Rong [祝融]
Mockup of Zhu Rong mars rover at the 69th International Astronautical Congress
By Pablo de León‎ – Pablo de León‎ via e mail, CC BY-SA 3.0.

On April 24, 2021, China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) announced the name of China’s first Mars rover: Zhu Rong (Chinese: 祝融).

Zhu Rong is the God of fire in ancient Chinese mythology. And in Chinese, “Mars” is “Fire Star”. Therefore, the name “Zhu Rong” is suitable for a rover to explore Mars. Furthermore, in Chinese culture, fire represents hope, warmth and the future. That’s why we’re exploring Mars and other plants.

Of course, in the Chinese context, Zhu Rong is not just the name of Fire God. “Zhu” is the transliteration of “祝”, which means “Blessing” and “Rong” is the transliteration of “融”, which means “Cooperation”. In my opinion, this is the basic principle for China and other countries to explore space.

Zhu Rong Mars rover is a major part of China’s Tianwen-1 Mars exploration mission. According to the plan, Zhu Rong will land Mars in May 2021 and the landing site is Utopia Planitia (火星乌托邦平原).