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China’s Zhurong rover sends back its first images from the Martian surface, including an adorable selfie: Digital Photography Review


Jun 15, 2021

A ‘selfie’ of the Zhurong rover and Tianwen-1 lander taken by a remote camera.
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has released its first batch of images captured by its Zhurong rover, which was sent to the martian surface as part of its Tianwen-1 mission. Included in the series of images is a panoramic view of the landing site as well as a ‘selfie’ captured by a remote camera.
Launched on July 23, 2020, the Tianwen-1 lander, which was carrying the Zhurong rover, entered Martian orbit on February 10, 2021. It made a soft landing on May 14, 2020 and eight days later the Zhurong rover was deployed. Since then, it’s been making its way across Utopia Planitia, the landing site of the Tianwen-1 lander.

The Tianwen-1 lander, as captured by a camera onboard the Zhurong rover after leaving its interplanetary steed.
The objective of the Zhurong rover is to study the topography and geology of its landing site, which includes collecting samples of the Martian surface and analyzing the samples to detect the elements and minerals present in the soil. In addition to collecting samples using its onboard tools, the rover is capturing detailed images of the Martian surface, which it is sending back to Earth for CNSA to analyze and for use to enjoy.

Panoramic view of South Utopia Planitia from Zhurong rover before deployment from the Tianwen-1 lander. Click to enlarge.
One of the first images sent back was a 360-degree panorama photo captured by the navigation terrain camera on the mast of the rover. The image, seen above, shows the landing site of the Tianwen-1 lander, which the Zhurong rover was still sitting atop at the time of capture.
The Zhurong rover also captured a group photo (pictured, top) of itself and the Tianwen-1 lander using a remote camera. According to CNSA’s press release, the remote camera was released from the bottom of the Zhurong rover and has been used to keep an eye on the movement of the rover. Images captured via the remote camera are transferred wirelessly back to the rover and then are relayed back to Earth.

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