China’s Mars eye in the sky snaps Zhu Rong rover landing site

·2-min read

China released its first high-resolution image of the landing areas of its Mars rover on Monday.

The picture released by the China National Space Administration was taken last Wednesday by a camera installed on the Tianwen 1 orbiter.

The rover Zhu Rong appears as a smaller bright spot in the upper right corner of the image near a bigger spot, which is the lander.

Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.

As of Sunday, the rover had worked 23 Martian days on the surface of the red planet. A Martian day is about 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth.

The administration said the rover had started exploring the planet’s surface and collecting data.

The Zhu Rong rover has started exploring the planet’s surface. Photo: CNSA
The Zhu Rong rover has started exploring the planet’s surface. Photo: CNSA

It said a dark area around the landing platform might have been caused by an engine plume during landing.

Bright spots below the lander show part of the entry capsule’s cover and the parachute, which were jettisoned during the landing process. The entry capsule’s heat shield can be seen as a bright spot in the lower left of the image.

China released the first pictures taken by the rover on May 17, four days after it touched down on the planet, dismissing suggestions that it had been damaged during landing.

The rover was named after the earliest god of fire in traditional Chinese culture, symbolising the use of fire to illuminate the Earth and bring light.

China is the second country after the United States to land and operate a rover on Mars. Nasa’s rovers Curiosity and Perseverance are also on the red planet.

In a first, Perseverance succeeded in extracting oxygen from the planet’s carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere on April 20.

China is racing to catch up with the United States in space technology. It has started building its own space station and plans to fly its first three astronauts this month to the Tianhe core module for a three-month mission.

More from South China Morning Post:

This article China’s Mars eye in the sky snaps Zhu Rong rover landing site first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting