The China National Space Administration on Thursday released images recently taken by its Mars rover, Zhurong, showing the canopy and bowl-shaped rear shell used when the rover landed.
The Zurong Navigation Camera captured the images – in color and in black and white – on Monday as the rover headed south on its scientific exploration.
The canopy and back cover are clearly shown in the pictures. They were about 30 meters from the rover and 350 meters from the landing site.
By Thursday afternoon, Zhurong, named after the Chinese god of fire in ancient mythology, had already reached Mars for 60 days, covering 450 meters to examine the barren planet. Meanwhile, the mission’s orbital vehicle continued its journey around the Red Planet for orbital exploration.
With a life expectancy of three months, Zurong 240kg takes on the task of examining Martian landforms, geological structures, soil properties, potential water and ice deposits, atmospheric and environmental properties, as well as magnetic and gravitational fields and other physical properties.
The 1.85-meter-high craft is the mainstay of the Tianwen 1 Mars mission, the country’s first interplanetary adventure. It is also the sixth spacecraft on an extraterrestrial planet after five from the United States.
The Mars probe Tianwen 1, named after an ancient Chinese poem, was launched on July 23, 2020 with a Langer-March-5 launcher from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern China’s Hainan Province, marking the first Chinese mission to another planet.
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