China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft has captured stunning images of Mars as a bright sunlit red crescent in deep space.
The photographs were taken separately over the northern and southern hemispheres of Mars with the medium-resolution camera on Tianwen-1, China’s first interplanetary mission.
The result is two glorious shots showing the illuminated eastern hemisphere of Mars, including surface features and the faint rim of the Martian atmosphere. The photographs were taken at a distance of about 6,850 miles (11,000 kilometers) from Mars.
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The image of the southern hemisphere of Mars, in which the lower part of the image is illuminated, was taken on March 16, while the image of the northern hemisphere was taken by the same camera on March 18.
The Tianwen-1 probe is currently in a polar orbit around Mars, bringing it as close as 280 kilometers (174 miles) from the surface and as far as 59,000 kilometers (36,660 miles), according to the National Space Administration. of China (CNSA). .
The orbit allows the spacecraft to pass over the main candidate landing site for the mission rover.
The spacecraft’s high-resolution camera has been collecting detailed images of the target’s landing site in preparation for a rover landing attempt in May or June, according to the CNSA.
Tianwen-1 reached Mars on February 10, just a day after the United Arab Emirates’ Hope probe, and a week before NASA’s Perseverance rover.
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