The China National Space Administration has released a new image on Monday, showing the location on the Martian surface where its Tianwen-1 probe landed last month.
According to Xinhua News Agency, the photo was taken on June 2 by the Tianwen-1 orbiter and shows the part of Utopia Planitia, a vast, 3,300-kilometer-wide impact basin in Mars’ northern hemisphere surrounding where the probe’s lander set down on May 15.
According to CNSA, the two bright spots in the top-right of the image are the Tianwen-1 landing platform, which had no specific name, and the Zhurong Mars rover. The three spacecraft are China’s first orbiter, lander and rover, respectively, to successfully arrive at the Red Planet.
“The dark area surrounding the landing platform might be caused by the influence of the engine plume during landing. The symmetrical bright stripes in the north-south direction of the landing platform might be from fine dust when the landing platform emptied the remaining fuel after landing,” CNSA explained. “The bright spots in the center of the image are the back cover of the entry capsule and the parachute jettisoned during the landing. Another bright spot in the lower left of the image is the heat shield of the entry capsule.”
The mission is aimed at studying the atmosphere, surface, geological characteristics, and features of the Red Planet's magnetic field. As of June 7, Zhurong has been on the Martian surface for 24 Martian days, which are about 40 minutes longer than Earth days. Its battery has approximately 90 days’ worth of power.