The China National Space Administration (ANEC) on Saturday (01.01.2022) published four new images sent by the Tianwen-1 mission, the first in the Asian country to reach the surface of Mars, local newspaper Diario del Pueblo reported.
Two of the images show all or part of the mission’s orbiter, which assists with communications between the rover on Mars and Earth.
ANEC explained that the image showing the entire body of the spacecraft was captured by a camera launched from the spacecraft.
The other two images include one of the arid, reddish surface of Mars and the other of the neighboring planet’s ice-covered north pole.
In the image of the surface of Mars, parts of “Zhurong” are seen, the rover from which the image was taken and which has already accumulated 224 days of work on the red planet and has traveled more than 1.4 kilometers, according to ANEC.
The authorities explained that the scout vehicle “far exceeded” its life expectancy, which was estimated at about three months.
The Tianwen-1 mission captured a total of 540 gigabytes of data and its components and sent it back to Earth that, according to an ANEC statement, is still “powered and in good shape.”
Tianwen-1 traveled a total of 450 million kilometers before it entered Mars orbit on February 10, according to ANEC.
The mission landed on the plain known as Utopia Planetia on May 15, making China the third country to do so, after decades of success from the United States and the former Soviet Union.
Tianwen-1 is China’s first exploration mission to Mars and the first in history to combine travel, entry to orbit and disembarkation in a single mission.
Chinese scientists plan to find more evidence of the presence of water or ice on the planet, as well as conduct research on the physical composition of the surface of Mars or the characteristics of the climate.
mg (efe, China Radio International)
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