Following its historic landing last week, China’s first probe on Mars has sent back first selfies of solar panels against an alien landscape, ramps and rods pointing at the Martian horizon.
Images from China’s Tianwen-1 Mars lander were released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). The lander’s successful landing in the Utopia Planitia region of the Red Planet on May 14, 2021 was confirmed by the still and animated photographs returned from Mars. Despite the fact that the Tianwen-1 lander carrying the Zhurong rover successfully landed on Mars last week, these are the first photographs of the landing to be released.
The photos Tianwen-1 show the deployed ramp, Zhurong’s solar panel wing, and the surrounding terrain, acquired by several cameras aboard the lander and rover. The lander’s separation from the orbiter that transported it to Mars was depicted in animated graphics. The orbiter has switched into a new orbit to serve as a communications relay between the lander, rover and Earth, according to CNSA, the rover is preparing to roll off the lander. For Chinese space experts, the rover’s landing was a nail-biter, with state media describing the process of employing a parachute to slow down and buffer legs as ‘the most challenging element of the operation’. It is anticipated that it will spend three months there taking images and collecting geographic data. Congratulating China, NASA Administrator Mr. Bill Nelson said, “Congratulations to the China National Space Administration on obatainig the first photographs from the Zhurong Mars rover.”
Among the 11 planned missions, the launch of main module of China Space Station was the first. By the end of the next year, a 3-person crew will be established, supported and dispatched. China aims to build a scientific base on moon and land people there. No timeline is released for these projects as of now.