For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – The Chinese space agency has released dramatic new videos showing the descent of the country’s Mars probe Tianwen-1 through the atmosphere during the landing the Red Planet in May as well as sounds and new images taken by its Mars rover Zhurong after driving down the landing platform and away to explore the alien terrain.
The Zhurong landing video is rather reminiscent of NASA’s descent video from the American Perseverance Mars rover that landed safely in February.
“The videos show the landing rover deploying its parachute and descending to the Martian surface, says the China National Space Administration (CNSA) in a report from China’s official state affiliated Xinhua news agency.
China’s official state affiliated CGTN also released the videos and sounds from Mars on June 27.
“New photos and videos captured by China’s Mars probe Tianwen-1 during the country’s first landing and roving exploration on the Red Planet were released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA),” CGTN tweeted with video.
New photos and videos captured by China's Mars probe Tianwen-1 during the country's first landing and roving exploration on the Red Planet were released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Sunday. #CGTNAmerica https://t.co/2RvJX72TcA
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) June 27, 2021
After being safely delivered to the surface of the Red Planet onto the plains of the Utopia Planitia landing site Zhurong became the first ever Chinese spacecraft to land on Mars on May 11 as part of the Tianwen-1 mission.
CNSA released four video clips for the first time.
And they are absolutely amazing! Watch the video tweet!
The first, captured on May 15, recorded the descent and landing process of the lander and rover. It shows the deployment of a parachute and a hazard-avoidance hover phase during the powered descent, CGTN reported.
A second video clip showed the rover driving down from the landing platform to the Martian surface on May 22. Sounds of the vehicle rolling down the ramp of the lander and roving on Mars can be heard in the footage.
Two more videos, shot on June 1, recorded the rover driving around and having photos taken with the lander. The rover first moved forward to set up a Wifi camera, then drove back to stand alongside the lander and posed for a joint selfie of their front side. After that, it made a turn to have a photo taken from the sideway.
China’s Mars rover Zhurong also snapped a sweeping 360 degree panorama of the landing site after driving away from its landing platform and traveling over the surface heading south.
The color and black and white images include the Martian landscape and the wheel tracks left behind by the six wheeled rover as well as the parachute off in the distance and portions of the rover deck and instruments.
With the successful landing Zhurong thereby made history to become the first ever Chinese spacecraft to soft land on the 4th rock from the Sun and thereafter rolled onto the surface about a week later starting its mobile 3 month long mission to explore the Red Planet
As of the June 27, the orbiter of the Tianwen-1 mission has been operating around Mars for 338 days, and its Earth-Mars distance is approximately 360 million km, reportede Xinhua.
The Mars rover Zhurong has been working on Mars for 42 Martian days or Sols and has driven a total of 236 meters.
Zhurong is named after the Chinese god of fire, loaded with six science instruments and weighs 240 kg (530 lb) and a height of 1.85 m (6 ft).
The team has dispatched the rover to driving south from the landing site because that leads to interesting science targets
“We selected this particular direction for several reasons. The altitude picks up that way, from the ancient martian ocean to land,” Liu Jianjun, chief designer of the ground application system of the Tianwen-1 probe, told CGTN
“And that’s also where we’ll come across some of the most interesting things we care about, like mud volcanoes and sub-surface ice.”
Both the orbiter and the rover are in good working conditions, CNSA said.
“Zhurong will continue its movement, detection and scientific exploration missions as planned.”
“Meanwhile, the orbiter, currently in a low orbit of the red planet, will continue to relay data between the Zhurong rover and the ground station on Earth, as well as conducting its own scientific detections.”
After entering polar elliptical orbit in February 2021 ranging between 165 miles (265 kilometers) and nearly 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) the orbiter deployed the rover/lander on May 14, 2021.
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Tianwen-1, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, Artemis and NASA missions, SpaceX, Starlink, ULA missions, Commercial Crew Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2, Demo-2, ISS, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
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Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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