Beijing, Jan 2 (EFE).- The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has released four new photos sent by its Tianwen-1 mission, the country’s first to land on the surface of Mars, the state-run People’s Daily reported on Sunday.
Two of the photos, released on Saturday, fully or partially capture the mission’s orbiter, which helps in maintaining communication between Earth and the probe situated on the Martian surface.
The CNSA said that the photo showing the entire orbiter, the first of its kind, was taken from a camera released from the spacecraft.
The two other images include one of the barren red surface of Mars and another of the planet’s north pole, covered in ice.
The image of the Martian surface includes parts of the Zhurong rover which has already spent 224 days working on the red planet, covering more than 1.4 kilometers, according to the CNSA.
The authorities highlighted that the rover had far outlived its original life-expectancy of three months.
The Tianwen-1 mission has obtained and transmitted 540 gigabytes of data, still has “sufficient energy” and is in good conditions, according to the statement.
The mission traveled a total of 450 million kilometers before entering the Mars orbit on Feb. 10, 2021.
Its landing probe reached the surface of the planet on May 15, to the south of the Utopia Planitia plain, making China the third country to achieve the feat after the United States and the former Soviet Union.
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 hoped 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 Martian surface and the characteristics of the planet’s climate. EFE