Sunday, June 13

‘Tianwen’: China publishes a selfie of its robot on the surface of Mars | Science


The National Space Administration of China (ANEC) has published this Friday a 360-degree panoramic selfie taken on Mars by its rover robot, the Zhurong, and two other color photographs of the planet and the devices of the probe’s landing module Tianwen-1, which reached the surface on May 15.

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For the first image, the Zhurong he detached himself from the detachable camera that he usually carries located in the basement and backed away a few meters. Thus, you can see both the rover like the landing module, more in the background, from a ground level perspective. “The image was transmitted to the vehicle wirelessly, which then bounced it back to Earth through the orbiter module,” the text detailed.

The panorama shows the surroundings of the landing zone, a flat, stony and ocher terrain, and was taken by the scout vehicle Zhurong (named after the god of fire in ancient Chinese mythology) before he left the platform where he touched down on Mars on May 22.

“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 and more angular stones in the margin ”, detailed the ANEC in the text published in their website.

Surface of Mars photographed by the rover robot 'Zhurong'.
Surface of Mars photographed by the rover robot ‘Zhurong’.China National Space Administrat / EFE

In the panoramic image you can also see both the descent ramp to the Martian terrain and the rear of the Zhurong, with the solar panels that it uses to feed itself deployed. “The abundance and size of the stones corresponds to expectations,” noted the Chinese space agency.

Another photograph shows the landing module, with the descent ramp of the Zhurong ―Also the author of this photo― and a Chinese flag unfurled. At the end of the ramp you can see the footprints left by the astromobile on the Martian surface, which draw a circle.

The landing module, with the ramp by which the robot 'Zhurong' descended
The landing module, with the ramp by which the robot ‘Zhurong’ descendedChina National Space Administrat / EFE

According to the ANEC, the orbiter module is in good condition and the rover It has been working on the surface of Mars for 28 Martian days.

The Zhurong It is part of the Chinese mission Tianwen-1, which was sent 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.

The Tianwen-1 (whose name can be translated as “celestial questions”) is the first Chinese exploration mission to Mars and the first in history to combine travel, entry into orbit and descent in a single mission.

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

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