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China’s Mars Rover spotted on the surface by orbiting spacecraft



This before and after set of photos shows the landing site of the Zhurong rover in Utopia Planitia on Mars. The rover is the smaller of the two dots in the upper right corner.

CNSA

There is a long tradition of circuits spacecraft look down on Mars and select the small machines on the surface below. The most recent post in this genus comes from China̵

7;s Tianwen-1 mission. The orbiter snapped a picture of the Zhurong rover and its lander on June 2.

The China National Space Administration shared a look at the landing zone in Utopia Planitia, a wide plain region, on Monday. China is only the second nation to operate a rover on Mars after the United States.

The rover and the lander can be seen as small spots near each other in the upper right side of the image. Zhurong is the lower of the two dots. The other notable places are where parts of the landing system, including parachute and heat shield, landed.

The Zhurong rover is the smaller dot just below the lander.

CNSA

“The dark area surrounding the landing platform may be caused by the impact of the engine shooting during landing,” the CNSA said in a statement. “The symmetrical light streaks in the north-south direction of the landing platform may be from fine dust when the landing platform emptied the remaining fuel after landing.”

Pictures from the Tianwen-1 mission – which consists of the spacecraft, the lander and the rover – have been few and far between. Most recently in late May, we saw some ruts left by the rover’s first move over the dusty and stony ground.

The solar-powered rover has been rolling since May 22 and has a life expectancy of about three months. It collects images of the surface and studies the planet’s subsoil as it looks like signs of ice below.

The CNSA typically does not release as much information about its space utilization as we are used to seeing from agencies such as NASA and the European Space Agency, so treats like the orbital images give us an enticing insight into the mission.

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