Photo of the stationary lander and the rover "Zhurong", taken by a small module near them. Photo credit: CNSA

China’s Lander and Rover Make History on Mars

China's Zhurong rover has sent a new batch of unbelievable images from Mars.

The China National Space Administration has released new images of Mars taken by China’s first rover, Zhurong. Among them is a panoramic image of the landscape of Mars, as well as a photo of the rover and the landing platform, taken by a tiny module with a camera, which was released on the Martian surface a few meters from them. The images were released on the CNSA website.


The Zhurong arrived on Mars with the Tianwen-1 orbital probe and landed in the southern Utopia Plain in May this year, demonstrating China’s ability to carry out complex landing operations.

Image from the Zhurong rover showing the landing platform on which it landed on Mars. It left the plaftorm on May 21. Credit: CNSA
Image from the Zhurong rover showing the landing platform on which it landed on Mars. It left the platform on May 21. Credit: CNSA

The rover should work on Mars for at least 90 Martian days (sols) and conduct research on the structure and composition of the surface of Mars, in particular, to look for deposits of water ice.

To accomplish these tasks, the rover is equipped with seven instruments – three cameras, a ground-penetrating radar, a spectrometer, a magnetometer, and a weather station.

Another fascinating panorama from the surface of Mars showing parts of China's Zhurong rover as well as the landing platform. Credit: CNSA
Another fascinating panorama from the surface of Mars showing parts of China’s Zhurong rover as well as the landing platform. Credit: CNSA

To date, the orbital probe is successfully operating in a relay orbit, and the rover has worked 28 sols on the surface of Mars. Earlier, Zhurong sent images confirming the fact of a trip to the surface of Mars from the landing platform, and on June 11, the mission team published color panoramas and images transmitted by the rover to Earth along with the first scientific data.

The 360-degree panoramas were taken by a navigation camera mounted on the mast of the rover, they hit both the landing platform with the flag of China and the area around the vehicles, which is a relatively flat area covered with small stones. The footage also includes traces of rover wheels and traces of exhaust from platform brake motors, as well as a dark rear shell and a white parachute used during the landing on Mars.

Another image from the Zhurong rover, this time showing only the Martian surface. Credit: CNSA
Another image from the Zhurong rover, this time showing only the Martian surface. Credit: CNSA

In addition, a selfie of the rover and the landing platform was posted, which was taken using a detachable camera. Rover first placed the camera on the surface of Mars and then moved to the desired point. In total, the mission possessed two such cameras – the first was used during the flight of spacecraft to Mars.

This is not the debut use of detachable cameras and survey satellites in astronautics. China also used similar equipment to capture the main module of the new Chinese orbital station. Another example, similar tech was used to capture the moment when the Hayabusa-2 probe collided with the asteroid Ryugu.


Join the discussion and participate in awesome giveaways in our mobile Telegram group. Join Curiosmos on Telegram Today. t.me/Curiosmos


Sources:

Bangkok Post. (n.d.). Rover leaves ‘China’s imprint’ on Mars.
CNSA. (n.d.). The first batch of scientific images of the Tianwen 1 rover landing on Mars unveiled.
Sanchez, K. (2021, June 11). China’s Zhurong rover sends a selfie from Mars.
Yeung, J. (2021, June 11). China releases photos of its Mars rover on surface of the red planet.

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. My experience as a freelance writer began in 2018 but I have been part of the Curiosmos family since mid-2020. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

Write for us

We’re always looking for new guest authors and we welcome individual bloggers to contribute high-quality guest posts.

Get In Touch