China’s Mars orbiter captures series of selfies using remote camera
The China National Space Administration released photos on New Year’s Day, of its Mars orbiter circling high above the Red Plant.
The selfies were taken by a small camera which was deployed by the Tianwen 1, capturing images of the orbiter and sending them back to it via a WiFi connection.
The photos were then relayed back to Earth where they were published by China’s space agency.
Three of the four photos capture the orbiter above Mars’ frozen northern ice cap, while a fourth shows the planet’s surface, as captured by a previously-deployed rover.
The first two give a clear shot of Tianwen 1’s golden body and silver antenna and include the first full-body shot of the craft.
Tianwen 1 has now obtained and transmitted nearly 540 gigabytes of data back to mission controllers, according to the administration.
The spacecraft, officials say, is now approximately 350 million kilometers away from Earth.
The Tianwen 1 was originally launched in July 2020 and has now traveled a total of 475 million kilometers, carrying out several trajectory maneuvers en route to entering Martian orbit on Feb. 10, 2021.
The probe successfully deployed a landing capsule to the planet’s surface on May 15, 2021, becoming the second country after the United States to successfully do so.
The solar-powered Zhurong rover has now worked for 224 days and outlived its three-month life expectancy, while traveling over 1,400 meters.
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