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Chinese Rover Looks Weirdly Comical in Photo From Mars That Shames NASA

Since the days of the original space race, a story has circulated about how NASA spent millions trying to develop a pen that could write in space, while their rivals, the Russians, spent absolutely nothing and used pencils instead. That’s a myth, of course, but it only shows people know that NASA likes to complicate things a lot and not always get the best results.
Zhurong rover and its landing platform in amazing shot from Mars 3 photos
Take the countless photos the agency has taken over the years on Mars, with the help of the many rovers it sent there. They either show the Martian landscape from the rovers’ point of view or the machines themselves. All were taken with complicated onboard cameras, and, especially in the case of the ones showing the rovers, they never looked like actual photos, but selfies taken from very close by someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing.

In May this year, the Chinese have landed their own rover on Mars. It’s called Zhurong, and in the short time it spent there, it managed to send back what I consider the first proper photos ever taken of a human-made object on Mars.

Just a quick look at the photos in the attached gallery will have you wondering how the Chinese managed to snap the rover, the lander, and the surrounding landscape, from a distance.

The answer is as simple as the Russian pencil. The rover planted a wireless camera in the Martian soil, then backed away some 30 feet (10 meters), snapped the shot, sent the images home, and voila, history was made.

To rub the Americans’ nose in it in even further, one image also includes the landing platform next to the rover. On it, clearly visible is the Chinese flag, the first national flag we Earthlings got to see from this perspective in a photo from Mars.

The Chinese space agency shared these images on Friday on WeChat, and at the same time, declared the success of the Tianwen-1 mission. The Asian country also promised to share with the rest of the world whatever the rover will find up there.

 
 
 
 
 

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