Science & Technology

China releases rover ‘selfie,’ 360-degree panorama taken on Mars

Beijing, Jun 11 (EFE).- A 360-degree panorama and a rover “selfie” are among color photographs taken on the surface of Mars released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Friday.

The panorama shows the surroundings of the landing zone – a flat, stony and red terrain – and was taken by the rover Zhurong (named after the fire god of ancient Chinese mythology) before leaving the landing platform.

“The nearby surface is relatively flat, with stones of different sizes distributed, with smooth edges, lighter colors, and semi-buried,” detailed the CNSA.

“The image shows that the terrain near the landing site is flat, the Martian horizon can be seen in the distance, and the abundance and size of the rocks are consistent with expectations.”

The photo also shows both the descent ramp down to the Martian terrain and the rear of Zhurong and its solar panels.

The second of the photographs shows the landing platform and the exit ramp for the Zhurong, which took the photo, and an unfurled Chinese flag.

At the bottom of the ramp are circular track marks left by the rover in the red dust.

For the third image, Zhurong detached the camera that it usually carries, and backed up a few meters, snapping a “selfie” with the landing platform from ground level.

“The image is transmitted to the rover through wireless signals, and then relayed by the rover to the ground through the orbiter,” the CNSA said.

According to the agency, the orbiter is in good condition and the rover has been working on the surface for 28 Martian days.

Zhurong is part of the Chinese mission Tianwen-1, which was sent into space in July last year and whose landing probe reached the surface of the planet on May 15, in the south of the Utopia Planitia plain.

Tianwen-1 (whose name can be translated as “heavenly questions”) is China’s first exploration mission to Mars and the first in history to combine travel, orbit entry and descent into a single mission.

Chinese scientists intend to find more evidence of the existence of water or ice on the planet, as well as carry out research on the material composition of the surface of Mars and the characteristics of its climate. EFE


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