We’ve got some of the first images back from China’s Tianwen 1 mission to Mars and are they more than worth the wait.
Showing the northern ice cap as well as a kind of “selfie” of the Tianwen 1 with Mars as a backdrop, the images add to the growing catalog of impressive captures space agencies around the world have made of the Red Planet.
According to the CNSA, the Tianwen 1 launched in July 2020 and arrived on Mars on May 15 this year. After what the agency describes as a “challenging” landing, the Zhurong rover landed on the surface of Mars, making China the second country after the United States to land on Mars and the Zhurong the sixth rover to do so.
Expected to only last for three months or so, the Zhurong surpassed that limit with over 224 days in operation. During its relatively long life, the rover has traveled 1,400 meters so far and has transmitted over 540 gigabytes of data. As for how long it might last, that remains up in the air at this point with the CNSA blog post pointing to the rover’s sufficient power reserves and overall good condition as two factors that could contribute to the continued longevity of the mission.
And, of course, this isn’t the only mission China has planned for Mars. The South China Morning Post detailed plans for a Tianwen 2 that would collect rocks from the surface of Mars and then return to Earth with a possible 2030 time frame for that mission.
Be sure to check out some of Tianwen 1’s pictures at this link right here.
In case you missed it, check out these pictures of the sun from the Parker Solar Probe.
Check out some of our other photography news at this link right here.