There are those who start the New Year lying on the sofa, suffering from the slow digestion of New Year’s Eve dinner or excesses with cava, and who, like the National Space Administration of China (CNSA), choose to take out the camera and have some good pictures. In his case, yes, he has done it in a big way to celebrate the arrival of 2022. The Asian agency just shared four images taken on January 1, with the chimes still ringing, for its Tianwen-1 Mars mission.
Since the Asian Giant’s mission was launched, it has generated a good deal of information. Specifically and according to calculations by CNSA controllers, Tianwen-1 has already obtained and transmitted almost 540 gigabytes of data. The images that you have just shared with the world are however special. These include the first full photo of the orbiter.
Privileged views of the red planet
In the snapshots with which the CNSA wanted to start 2022, the orbiter around Mars and some details of the red planet, like the ice sheet at the north pole or a plain.
“The complete image of the orbiter was taken with a camera launched by the ship, which is now about 350 million kilometers from Earth ”, details the Chinese body.
The Tianwen-1 robotic probe, named after an ancient Chinese poem, took off about a year and a half ago, in July 2020, from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province. Throughout your journey traveled 475 million kilometers and performed several maneuvers before entering Martian orbit on February 10 of last year.
After more than three months of preparations, the Chinese probe released a landing capsule that descended through the Martian atmosphere. The landing was recorded on May 15. Days later, on the 22nd of that same month, the Zhurong rover descended to the ground of the red planet and made history by follow in the wake of the other five that the United States had displaced.
According the CNSA specifiesAs of Saturday, the Zhurong, 1.85 meters tall and weighing 240 kilos, had completed 224 days of work on Martian land, a service record that exceeds initial estimates. Originally, its managers actually calculated that the “life expectancy” of the device was three months. Throughout your missions has moved more than 1,400 m.
In addition to giving us impressive snapshots, the Chinese mission has allowed us to analyze rocks, dunes and different characteristics of the Martian surface. One of your goals is in fact study the geological history of the red planet. During its initial mission, the Zhurong rover also sent a small video of the landing and images, including photos of the dunes of Utopia Planitia very similar to those of the barren plain that the Chinese agency has just released.
Now we can start 2022 enjoying some impressive pictures of the red planet. And good news, too. The Chinese body advances that the Tianwen-1 mission still has a reel for a while: “It still has enough power and is in good condition”.
Images | China National Space Administration (CNSA)