China’s first-ever rover hit the road earlier this month, images from NASA’s spacecraft show.
The rover, named Zhurong, is part of Tianwen-1The first Chinese mission to the Red Planet to orbit around Mars in February. Zhurong detached from the orbiter Tianwen-1 on May 14 and landed on the vast plain of Utopia Planitia a few hours later.
NASA’s Mars Orbiter (MRO) photographed by Jurong on June 6 using his HiRISE (Science Experiment with High Definition Imaging) camera, which is able to recognize small details like a coffee table on the red mud far below.
Connected: China’s Tianwen-1 mission to Mars in photographs
On Wednesday (June 23), the HiRISE team released a second snapshot of Jurong, taken on June 11, in which the rover and its tracks go noticeably further from the mission’s landing platform.
“The landing site remains distinctly colored due to the removal of Martian dust during landing, and the movement of the Zhurong rover southward can be seen by comparing the two images,” wrote the HiRISE team members. photo description…
MRO It has been flying around Mars since 2006, studying the geology and climate of the planet, looking for signs of water ice, scouting for good potential landing sites for future missions (both crewed and robotic), and serves as a communications relay between rovers and lander and their dispatchers. on the ground.
As seen in the Jurong images, the MRO also spies on the Red Planet’s ground robots from time to time. Over the years, HiRISE has photographed NASA’s Phoenix and InSight lander, as well as Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity and Tenacity all-terrain vehicles – and Chzhurong too.
The camera even managed to capture the epic landing scene of Perseverance on February 18 this year. photographing the rover descent vehicle in the sky over the Red Planet under a huge supersonic parachute.
Mike Wall is the author of “There“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the quest for alien life. Follow it on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.