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Space administration reveals photos taken by Mars rover

Updated: Jun 11,2021 10:55 AM    chinadaily.com.cn
The China National Space Administration makes public four pictures taken by the Tianwen 1 robotic mission on June 11, 2021. [Photo/China National Space Administration]

The China National Space Administration made public on June 11 four pictures taken by the Tianwen 1 robotic mission, showing the Zhurong rover on Martian surface and scenes of its landing site.

Three pictures were taken by Zhurong's cameras, and display the rover's upper stage, its landing platform as well as environment of the landing site. Another one was shot by a separate camera deployed by Zhurong on Martian soil, showing the rover and the landing platform together.

A fabric Chinese national flag and a monochromic drawing of mascots of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games are noticeable in the landing platform's picture. Also in this photo, the tracks of Zhurong on the surface can be clearly seen.

The group photo of Zhurong and the landing platform was created by a small camera, which was originally attached to the rover's bottom and then placed on the Martian soil when the rover traveled about 10 meters to the south of its landing platform.

The China National Space Administration makes public four pictures taken by the Tianwen 1 robotic mission on June 11, 2021. [Photo/China National Space Administration]

After dropping the camera, Zhurong moved back toward the platform. The process was recorded by the camera, which transmitted the video and pictures to the rover via radio signal.

The backdrop in these photos is the reddish, barren Martian land, on which Tianwen 1's landing capsule touched down on May 15, on the southern part of the Utopia Planitia, a large lava plain within the largest known impact basin in the solar system

The pictures were published at a ceremony held by the space administration at its Beijing headquarters.

Zhang Kejian, director of the administration, said at the ceremony that China will share scientific findings from its space missions with other nations to benefit all people around the world.

The China National Space Administration makes public four pictures taken by the Tianwen 1 robotic mission on June 11, 2021. [Photo/China National Space Administration]

As of June 11, Zhurong has been working on the Red Planet for 28 Martian days to carry out scientific exploration.

The robot is now hundreds of million kilometers from the Earth. It is the sixth rover on Mars, following five others launched by the United States.

With an expected lifespan of at least 90 Martian days, the 240-kilogram Zhurong is tasked with surveying Mars' landforms, geological structures, soil characteristics, potential locations of water and ice, and atmospheric and environmental traits, as well as magnetic, gravitational and other physical fields.

The China National Space Administration makes public four pictures taken by the Tianwen 1 robotic mission on June 11, 2021. [Photo/China National Space Administration]

The 1.85-meter-tall robot is propelled by six wheels and powered by four solar panels, and can move at 200 meters an hour on the Martian surface.

Tianwen 1, named after an ancient Chinese poem, was launched by a Long March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket on July 23 from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in the southernmost island province of Hainan, kick-starting China's first mission to another planet.

Driven by a mixture of 48 large and small engines, the spacecraft rocketed more than 470 million km and carried out four midcourse corrections and a deep-space trajectory maneuver before entering the orbit of Mars on Feb 10.

On Feb 24, Tianwen 1 entered a preset parking orbit above Mars and maintained that orbit to examine the predetermined landing site until May 15, when it descended to a lower orbit to release the landing capsule, which touched down on the Red Planet after a succession of sophisticated maneuvers.

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