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China's Tianwen-1 Orbiter Shares Selfie Above Mars' Icy North Pole

We've been blessed with some new images sent by China's Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter. The spacecraft sent some selfies that show it hovering above the icy caps, which sit at our neighbor's north pole. The ice caps captured look like white stripes that nicely contrast a reddish background.
China Tianwen-1 spacecraft snaps photos above Mars' north pole 6 photos
China orbiter snaps photo above Mars' north poleChina orbiter snaps photo above Mars' north poleChina orbiter snaps photo above Mars' north poleChina Zhurong rover takes image of Martian terrainChina Zhurong rover
The spacecraft was launched in July 2020. It arrived at Mars seven months later to uncover mysteries about its past, searching for signs of life. Tianwen-1 is also busy mapping the planet's surface, investigating if there was (or still is) water on Mars.

It orbits the Red Planet from an average altitude of 248 miles (400 km), carrying more than a dozen scientific instruments onboard. One of them is a small camera with wide-angle lenses that helps the orbiter take color photos of our neighbor.

Recently, the spacecraft used it to snap several selfies that show it passing above the north pole. In some of the pictures, we can see the golden body of Tianwen-1 as it hovers over white specs that sit against a darker background. We can also see the silver antenna used for communication with the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the solar panels.

On Saturday, January 2nd, the Agency also released an image that shows the Martian terrain from up-close this time, taken by its Zhurong rover. On May 15th, China became the second country after the U.S. to land on Mars, and Zhurong became the sixth rover to spin its wheels on the rugged surface of the Red Planet.

According to the CNSA, on Saturday morning, the rover has successfully traveled for more than 4,593 ft (1,400 meters) since it first touched the Martian soil, surpassing its initial three-month life expectancy. Zhurong will continue to take high-resolution pictures of its surroundings and examine the planet's composition as it slowly moves across the reddish, dusty surface.

As for the Tianwen-1, the CNSA stated that the orbiter is in good condition and has enough energy to circle Mars and show us glimpses of its surface from above.

press release

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