China's Mars rover sends back images to Earth
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) released four pictures of the rocky Martian surface taken by the Tianwen-1 spacecraft carrying the Zhurong rover. China landed the Tianwen-1 spacecraft carrying the rover on Mars last month, becoming the second country in the world to have touched the Martian surface. The spacecraft spent about three months orbiting the red planet prior to the landing.
In the first photograph the terrain in front of the rover is clearly visible in the and the planet's horizon appears curved because of the camera’s wide-angle lens. This black and white image, was taken by an obstacle avoidance camera installed in front of the Mars rover, the CNSA said in a statement on its website
The second image is in colour and was taken by the navigation camera fitted at the rover's back. The rover’s solar panels and antenna appear to be clearly unfolded, against a background of red soil and rocks on the Martian surface.
The probe also sent back a video taken by a camera on the orbiter, showing how the lander and the rover separated from the orbiter while landing on the surface of Mars.
In one of the pictures the Chinese rover and lander bearing the national flag can be seen on the surface of Mars. The lander and rover both display the national flag and the former even has pictures of the 2022 Chinese Olympics and Paralympics mascot ingrained on its surface, reported the Associated Press.
The Zhurong rover, named after a mythical Chinese god of fire, weighs 240 kilograms and carries six scientific instruments meant to aid in its mission, including a high-resolution camera.
The rover is currently surveying an area known as Utopia Planitia, a large plain in the northern hemisphere of Mars on Saturday, according to reports by state media. It will be looking for signs of existence of life on Mars using a ground-penetrating radar during its 90-day exploration.