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NASA Finds Wheel Tracks on Mars, That Purple Blotch Made Them

For a long time, America has been the only nation on the planet to have functioning hardware on another… planet. Its rovers have been roaming the surface of Mars for years now, advancing our knowledge of an alien place we might once just call home. And then China came along.
Tracks made by Chinese Zhurong rover on Mars 6 photos
CNSA released a video footage and sounds of Zhurong rover on the Red PlanetCNSA released a video footage and sounds of Zhurong rover on the Red PlanetCNSA released a video footage and sounds of Zhurong rover on the Red PlanetCNSA released a video footage and sounds of Zhurong rover on the Red PlanetCNSA released a video footage and sounds of Zhurong rover on the Red Planet
Back in May last year, the Asian nation managed to land its first rover on Mars, the Zhurong. Having flown there on a mission called Tianwen, it quickly proved its worth and shamed NASA by taking a photo of itself in a way the Americans never thought of: by sticking a wireless camera into the Martian soil, backing away some 30 feet (10 meters), and then saying cheese.

By August 2021, the Zhurong had exceeded its life expectancy and was hoped at the time it will keep going. To our knowledge, it continues to do so.

Several times already NASA flew its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter over Zhurong’s landing site, snapping pictures of it. It did so in March this year as well, as this is how the image we have here was born.

This one is meant to show “how far the rover has traveled in the 10 months since it landed” by exposing both the machine itself (that purple blotch on the reddish soil, a color added by HiRISE’s filters) and the tracks it made in the Martian dust as it moved away.

As per NASA, the thing traveled south for about a mile (1.5 km), not in a straight line, but like a serpent moving slowly to its prey, and was at the time when the photo was taken resting between two rock outcrops.

At the time of writing, aside from the Chinese machine there are five other rovers on Mars, namely Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance. Of them, only the Curiosity and Perseverance are still active.

 
 
 
 
 

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