00:01 GMT04 August 2021
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    The rover, named after the Chinese god of fire, is being used by the Chinese agency to examine Martian soil and atmosphere, take pictures, create maps, and search for water and evidence of past life. The rover is equipped with a variety of equipment and can communicate with Earth via the Tianwen-1 orbiter's "high-speed data relay."

    The China National Space Administration released five new photographs of Mars on Friday, featuring rocks on the Martian surface and the vehicle's tire tracks, obtained by its Zhurong rover.

    The first image, shot on June 26, shows the Martian terrain as the rover explores Utopia Planitia, a large northern lava plain on Mars, with what looks to be the surface component detector and the climate detector from the rover. And the second image, taken on July 4, the rover's 48th day on Mars, shows the Martian surface as well.
    • This handout photograph taken on June 26, 2021 and released on July 9, 2021 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows the surface of Mars taken from China's Zhurong Mars rover.
      This handout photograph taken on June 26, 2021 and released on July 9, 2021 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows the surface of Mars taken from China's Zhurong Mars rover.
      © AFP 2021 / HANDOUT
    • This handout photograph taken on July 4, 2021 and released on July 9, 2021 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows the surface of Mars taken from China's Zhurong Mars rover.
      This handout photograph taken on July 4, 2021 and released on July 9, 2021 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows the surface of Mars taken from China's Zhurong Mars rover.
      © AFP 2021 / HANDOUT
    • This undated handout photograph released on July 9, 2021 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows rocks on the surface of Mars taken by China's Zhurong Mars rover.
      This undated handout photograph released on July 9, 2021 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows rocks on the surface of Mars taken by China's Zhurong Mars rover.
      © AFP 2021 / HANDOUT
    • This handout photograph taken on July 4, 2021 and released on July 9, 2021 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows the surface of Mars taken from China's Zhurong Mars rover.
      This handout photograph taken on July 4, 2021 and released on July 9, 2021 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows the surface of Mars taken from China's Zhurong Mars rover.
      © AFP 2021 / HANDOUT
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    © AFP 2021 / HANDOUT
    This handout photograph taken on June 26, 2021 and released on July 9, 2021 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows the surface of Mars taken from China's Zhurong Mars rover.

    Moreover, the third and fourth shots reveal rocks on the ground, as well as what appear to be rover tire tracks.

    Tire tracks, as well as the rover's solar panels and antenna, are visible in the final color image.

    Given that China's space agency has remained tight-lipped about Zhurong's plans, this image release comes as news for the Chinese Tianwen-1 mission on the Red Planet, since not many photos were shared with the general public after the rover successfully landed on Utopia Planitia, a huge northern lava plain on Mars on May 15.

    In July 2020, it launched from Earth aboard China's Tianwen-1 spacecraft, which had entered Martian orbit in February. To date, Zhurong has been on Mars for 54 days and has walked over 300 meters, according to Xinhua news agency.

    During its stay on Mars, Zhurong has been heading south and conducting detections, as well as taking photographs of the Martian landscape with its navigation camera. It has conducted scientific research using its surface-search radar, weather monitor, and magnetic field detector tools.

    On May 22, the rover Zhurong drove down to the Martian surface from its landing platform, beginning its study of the red planet and making China the second country after the US to land and operate a rover on Mars.

    In the meantime, while Zhurong investigates Utopia Planitia, NASA's Perseverance rover is investigating the Jezero crater, which may also be home to ancient life.

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    Tags:
    China, space, Space, Space, airspace, spaceship, Curiosity Rover, Chinese Rover, Mars Rover, Mars 2020, Rover, Mars, Photos
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