TECH China releases first images of Tianwen-1 Mars probe in deep space flight

TECH

China releases first images of Tianwen-1 Mars probe in deep space flight

People's Daily app

09:40, October 01, 2020

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Images: China National Space Administration

Chinese space agency on Thursday released the first selfies of the country’s first Mars probe on its way heading to the red planet, sending a special message to celebrate China’s National Day. 

The images, in which a Chinese national flag is seen on the surface of the orbiter, were captured by two wide angle lenses, a part of Tianwen-1’s measurement sensors, and transmitted back to the ground station.

China National Space Administration (CNSA) said those photos show the spacecraft operating in sound condition and also are a special present from the deep space to mark the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which falls on October 1. 

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The national flag is about 39 centimeters wide and 26 centimeters high, weighing about 144 gram, said CNSA.  

Tianwen-1 embarked on its space voyage on July 23. The probe, consisting of an orbiter and an rover, has flown over 188 million kilometers, currently at a position 24.1 million kilometers away from Earth. 

The spacecraft in late July had beamed back a photo of the Earth and the Moon, seen from about 1.2 million km from Earth. 

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The images were captured by a separate measurement sensor, which carries two wide angle lenses. The sensor took the photos after it was detached from the probe by a ground station order and sent them back to the probe through WIFI transmission.  

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