Credit: CCTV/CNSA/Inside Outer Space screengrab

China’s Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter has imaged the touchdown locale of the mission’s lander and Zhurong rover.

In the image, taken by a high-resolution camera installed on the orbiter of at 6 pm on June 2 (Beijing Time), two bright spots are visible in the upper right corner. The larger one is the landing platform, and the smaller one is the Zhurong Mars rover.

The lander carrying the rover touched down in the southern part of Utopia Planitia, a vast plain in the northern hemisphere of Mars, on May 15.

Artwork depicts lander/rover at landing site.
Credit: CAST

The bright spots in the center of the image are the back cover of the entry capsule and the parachute jettisoned during the landing. Another bright spot in the lower left of the image is the heat shield of the entry capsule.

As of June 6, the rover Zhurong has been working on the surface of Mars for 23 Martian days to detect the environment, move around the surface, and carry out scientific exploration.

Rover data

According to China’s Xhinua news agency, “all scientific equipment aboard the rover is turned on to collect data. The orbiter operates in a relay orbit with a cycle of 8.2 hours, providing relay communication for the scientific exploration of the Mars rover.”

Credit: CNSA

With an expected lifespan of at least 90 Martian days (about three months on Earth), the Xhinhua report notes, Zhurong will record the Martian landscape with high-resolution three-dimensional images and analyze the material composition of the planet’s surface. It will also detect its sub-surface structure and magnetic field, search for traces of ice and observe the surrounding meteorological environment.

Go to this just issued video fromChina Central Television (CCTV)/China National Space Administration (CNSA) at:

https://youtu.be/YsDBEJ57swU

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