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A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

What’s happening: The rover arrived in orbit around the Red Planet in February with the country's Tianwen-1 mission.

  • The rover is reportedly designed to search for water, ice and possible signs of life.
  • This was China's first attempt to land on Mars.

The big picture: This mission fits into China’s broader plans in space.

  • The nation is currently building a space station and is aiming to develop a research station on the Moon with Russia.

Go deeper

Aug 17, 2021 - Science
How It Happened

Introducing How it Happened Season Two: The Next Astronauts

In How it Happened: The Next Astronauts, Axios space reporter Miriam Kramer follows the first space flight to orbit without professional astronauts.

Kramer will take listeners inside the story of the Inspiration4 mission, which SpaceX aims to launch on Sept. 15.

University of Michigan reaches $490M settlement in sex abuse case

Jon Vaughn, a former University of Michigan and NFL football player, speaks at a press conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., in June 2021. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The University of Michigan on Wednesday reached a $490 million settlement with over a thousand survivors who allege that they were sexually assaulted by a former physician in the school's athletic department.

Driving the news: "It's been a long and challenging journey and these survivors have refused to remain silent," attorney Parker Stinar said Wednesday.

4 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

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