The Tianwen 1 spacecraft at Mars pulled a big New Year’s surprise with stunning new images captured by a small camera that flew free of the orbiter to snap epic selfies above the Red Planet. The China National Space Administration published the latest photos.
The image captured by Tianwen 1 is Mars’ north pole, with its solar arrays and antennas on display, as well as a partial closeup of the orbiter and a view of the Red Planet’s northern ice cap. The Mars shots were taken by a small camera device released by the orbiter, which then took images and sent them to Tianwen 1 via WiFi.
The orbiter also pulled a similar stunt on the way to Mars, deploying a small camera to snap photos of the probe while in deep space with Zhurong still attached in its aeroshell. However, the spacecraft still had another trick up its sleeve with the New Year’s image. In November, the European Space Agency’s Mars Express collected data from China’s Zhurong Mars rover and successfully sent it to Earth as part of experimental communications tests.
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