Artwork depicts China’s Zhurong Mars rover rolling off lander.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

China’s Zhurong Mars rover is ready to roll off the Tianwen-1 lander that touched down May 15 on the Red Planet.

Meanwhile, the first images from the designated landing spot at the southern part of Utopia Planitia on Mars were released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

Also issued was a video taken by a camera on the Tianwen-1 orbiter, showing the cocooned lander/rover being deployed from the orbiter for entry, descent, and landing.

Credit: CNSA

Image details

The first photograph, a black and white image, was taken by an obstacle avoidance camera installed in front of the Mars rover. The image shows that a ramp on the lander has been extended to the surface of Mars. The terrain of the rover’s forward direction is clearly visible in the image, and the horizon of Mars appears curved due to the wide-angle lens.

Credit: CNSA

A second image, in color, was taken by the navigation camera. The rover’s solar panels and antenna are seen unfolded, and the red soil and rocks on the Martian surface are clearly visible in the image.

Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

On patrol

“Later on, our Mars rover will carry out the mission of patrolling and exploring the Mars surface,” said Zhang Rongqiao, chief designer of China’s Mars exploration mission during a China Central Television (CCTV) interview. “The rover will come down from the lander, check its status and plan the path. Then it will conduct scientific exploration in accordance with our set goals,” Zhang said.

Launched on July 23, 2020, the Tianwen-1 mission consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover.

Go to these newly released videos by CCTV detailing the Tianwen-1 mission and unleashing the 6-wheeled rover at:

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