China's Mars spacecraft brings back a charming selfie of the red planet

Hello, Zhurong rover and Tianwen-1 lander. This selfie comes from a remote camera placed on the surface of Mars.

CNSA

This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

It’s easy to embodied our robotic envoys to Mars. We give them nicknames like “Oppy” and “Percy” and focus on The “heads” and “eyes” are similar to humans. Well, China may have built the most beautiful looking rover yet. The Zhurong rover has provided a portrait of Mars throughout the ages. Try not to press too loudly.

according to China National Space Administration statement On Friday, the remarkable image was captured by a wireless remote camera launched by the rover, then turned away to appear with the Tianwen-1 lander for the image.

The photo shows Zhurong “looking” at the camera. You can see the solar panels extending like butterfly wings to the side. A portion of the slope can be seen from the landing module down to the roof at the far right of the image.

Zhurong is a core component of China’s ambitious Tiawen-1 mission, which consists of an orbiting spacecraft, a lander, and a rover. By delivering the solar-powered rover to the surface in mid-May, China became the second country to operate a rover on Mars. NASA operates the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers in other regions of Mars.

The Tianwen-1 lander on Mars along with the Zhurong rover’s wheel tracks.

CNSA

The selfie comes as part of a file Release of scientific photos, including landscapes showing the view over Utopia Planitia, an extended plains region on Mars that made a well-flat landing site for the surface portion of the Tianwen-1 mission.

CNSA also shared a panoramic photo and another shot of the lander with the Chinese flag prominently displayed on its side. She seems to have a picture of The panda mascot for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics And the Paralympic Games glowing lantern mascot near the flag.

While China hasn’t released nearly as many images we normally see from NASA missions to Mars, these latest shots are in good company with recent views. From the spacecraft Tianwen-1 المركبة and NASA’s Mars Exploration Vehicle Landing craft and rover visible from orbit.

It may seem strange that some space enthusiasts develop emotional attachments to robots (see how People felt the demise of NASA’s Opportunity spacecraft), but space exploration is a human endeavor, and emotions and connections are part of that.

These may be robots rolling across the rocky surface of Mars, but they are Our robots.

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