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China lands rover on Mars, marking step in Xi's 'space dream'

Zhurong will spend three months on the red planet searching for signs of life

The planet Mars, shown here in an undated NASA image, is one focus of China's space program. (NASA/Reuters)

SHANGHAI -- China successfully landed a rover on the planet Mars Saturday, becoming the second country to do so after the U.S. and moving a step closer to bringing President Xi Jinping's "space dream" of self-reliance and independent innovation into reality.

The semi-autonomous six-wheeled vehicle named Zhurong, after a god of fire in Chinese mythology, touched down on the southern region of Utopia Planitia -- the largest recognized plain on the red planet -- on Saturday morning, according to state news agency Xinhua.

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