A selfie from Mars: China's Zhurong rover spreads its 'wings' on Red Planet
Zhurong, China's first-ever rover to land on another planet, has now sent its first photos from the surface of Mars where it appears to be striking a birdlike pose with its solar panel "wings" outstretched and two camera "eyes" ahead towards the Red Planet's horizons. Calling it the "touring group photo" in a blog post late on Friday, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said that the rover, like an excited parent, placed a small wireless camera on the Martian surface before heading over directly in front of it for the shot and including its landing platform in the frame, too.
China's Zhurong rover touched down on the surface of the Red Planet around a month ago on its first-ever Martian mission, marking Beijing's triumph for bold space ambitions and a history-making feat for the nation. It made China the first country to carry out an orbiting, landing, and roving operation during its first mission to Mars -- a feat unmatched by the only other two nations to reach the Red Planet so far, the United States and Russia.
Zhurong rover, six-wheeled, solar-powered, and weighing roughly 240 kilograms (530 pounds), is on a quest to collect and analyse rock samples from Mars' surface. The high-resolution images it sent back to Earth on Friday are the first of such shots to capture an extremely detailed view of the Martian surface. There are several other shots, captured by the Tianwen-1 spacecraft that carried Zhurong to Mars, but the rare "selfie" marks one of the earliest of such images to reach Earth from another planet, albeit clicked by a rover running on artificial intelligence.
The three-month mission - Zhurong - named after a Chinese mythical fire god, arrived a few months behind America's latest probe to Mars -- Perseverance -- as the show of technological might between the two superpowers plays out beyond the bounds of Earth.