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Photo From Space Shows Chinese Hardware on Mars, Slightly Damaged Planet Surface

As the second country in the world to have landed a rover on Mars, China is very proud of its achievement. The nation now has a spaceship in orbit around the planet, and a rover down on the surface, hoping to contribute to humanity’s search for signs of life and a better understanding of the neighboring planet.
Image from space shows Chinese hardware on Mars 1 photo
China’s mission to Mars is called Tianwen-1, and it departed Asia in July last year. In May 2021, the mission reached its destination. A piece of hardware was left up in orbit for future use, while a lander descended to the surface of Mars carrying with it the rover, called Zhurong.

The piece of Chinese engineering set down in a region of the planet called Utopia Planitia. There, the rover is expected to spend 90 days getting 3D images of the surrounding area and analyzing the composition of the planet’s surface. After these 90 days, it will stop working.

So far, we’ve only got a couple of images back from the Chinese rover, closer to the day it landed. Since then, the Chinese space agency (CNSA) kept quiet, at least until this week, when it released an image showing the rover and other Chinese-made hardware on the surface of the planet, as seen from space.

The image was taken with the satellite Tianwen left in orbit, is black and white, and is captioned in Chinese. We do know what’s what in there, though, and can give you a quick tour.

In the upper right corner, the two bright spots are the landing platform and the rover itself. The patch of darkness surrounding the platform is believed to be the result of the lander’s engine plume hitting the ground, scorching it, while the bright stripes going from north to south might be traces left in the dust by the emptying of the remaining lander fuel.

There are a few more things in the image (click photo to enlarge). Front and center are the lander’s back cover and the parachute, while in the lower left, we’re getting a glimpse at the heat shield of the entry capsule.

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