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Orbiter Sends Stunning Pictures From Mars: 'Wow, Another Surprise'

Orbiter Sends Stunning Pictures From Mars: ‘Wow, Another Surprise’

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China’s Mars probe sends stunning images back to Earth. The expert celebrates the trick the experts use.

Beijing – Mars is the planet most explored by space probes – and above all by the US space organization NASA, which includes the “Perseverance” and “Curiosity” rover and the lander “InSight” three research instruments on the surface of Red Mars have placed the planets. But the United States is no longer the only country able to roll a rover over the rocky landscape of Mars: China has been the second country to land on Mars since 2021.

And the United States isn’t alone in orbiting Mars: China has also put a space probe there — as well as NASA, ESA, and India.

NASA missions are usually in the spotlight – for example when the “Perseverance” rover solves “one of the greatest mysteries” or discovers a “treasure chest” on Mars before its first trip on Mars. But China’s Mars research also has a lot to offer. Recently, the Chinese rover “Zhurong”, which landed on the red planet in May 2021, discovered a “mud volcano” that could indicate historical water sources.

Mars mission: China envisions its space probe in Mars orbit

While NASA’s “Persevere” mission has created quite a stir with videos of the Martian landing — particularly the parachute that sparked enthusiasm among fans — China’s space agency CNSA is now making a name for itself with images of the Mars rover “Tianwen-1”. However, these are not images taken by the orbiter, but rather unusual images that show the same rover in orbit around Mars.

Close-up of the Chinese orbiter “Tianwen-1”, the red surface of Mars can be seen in the background.

© CNSA

In order to take pictures, CNSA engineers resorted to a trick: according to the authorities, a wifi camera was used for photos. Andrew Jones, a space journalist and China expert, is excited on Twitter About the images: “Wow! This is another surprise for the Tianwen-1 mission!” She continues: “It looks like the rover launched a small sub-satellite into Mars orbit and took these pictures.”

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Chinese Mars rover: “Zhurong” also sends a photo

The orbiter images not only show “Tianwen-1” with its solar panels and contact-oriented antenna, but also part of Mars. Among other things, you can see the ice at the north pole of Mars as well as the reddish color of the surface, which has been nicknamed the “red planet”.

A landscape of the surface of Mars captured by the Chinese rover “Zhurong”.

© XinHua / CNSA / dpa

A new image of the Chinese Mars rover “Zhurong” has also been published: typical terrain formations such as craters and boulders can be seen in a mosaic of three images. According to official information, the Chinese Mars mission has so far sent about 560 gigabytes of raw scientific data to Earth. Both the rover and the vehicle are in good condition and operating normally, according to CNSA. (tab)

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