China publishes color images of the surface of Mars

A China Space Administration released today (11) a 360-degree panoramic image and two color photographs of the surface of Mars and the devices of the Tianwen-1 spacecraft, which reached the red planet on May 15th.

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The image shows the surroundings of the landing zone, a flat, stony terrain, and was recorded by the vehicle Zhurong – an homage to the Fire God of ancient Chinese mythology.

“The nearby surface is relatively flat, with smooth, light-colored stones of different sizes, scattered and half-buried. There is a hole at the bottom with darker, more angular stones on the edge,” the China Space Administration said in a statement.

The image also shows the descent ramp to Martian terrain and the rear of the Zhurong, with solar panels. “The abundance and size of the stones correspond to expectations”, says the note.

The other photo shows the landing platform, with the Zhurong descent ramp and a Chinese flag flying. At the end of the ramp, the marks left by the vehicle on the Martian surface can be seen, forming a circle. In the third image, Zhurong moved away from the disposable chamber, which he normally carries in the hold, and backed up a few meters.

Thus, both the vehicle and the platform can be seen in the background.

“The image was transmitted without wire connection to the vehicle, which then rerouted it to Earth through the orbit module”, detailed the text.

According to the Chinese agency, the orbit module is in good condition, and the vehicle has been operating on the surface of Mars for 28 Martian days.

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Zhurong is part of the Chinese Tianwen-1 mission, which departed into space in July 2020 and whose landing probe reached the planet’s surface on May 15, in the southern part of the so-called Utopia Planitia, a plain located in the northern hemisphere.

Tianwen-1 is China’s first Mars exploration mission and the first in history to combine voyage, entry into orbit and descent in a single mission.

Chinese scientists intend to find more evidence of the existence of water or ice on the planet, as well as to carry out research on the material composition of the surface or on the characteristics of the climate.

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