Mars ready for its close-up: China releases first image of space probe

FILE PHOTO: The first image of Mars taken by China’s Tianwen-1 unmanned probe is seen in this handout image released on February 5, 2021 by China’s National Space Administration (CNSA). CNSA / Handout via REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s first space exploration mission to Mars has captured its first image of the red planet, the space agency said on Friday, leaving Earth after some six months of investigation.

According to China’s National Space Administration (CNSA), Tianwen-1, which is about 2.2 million km (1.4 million mi) from Mars, took this picture, which supplied a black-and-white image.

CNASA said in a statement that the probe is now only half that far from Mars and about 184 million km from Earth after 197 days of mission, the CNSA said in a statement that its system was in good condition.

Tianwen-1 was launched from China’s southern Hainan Island in July and was expected to reach Mars orbit this month. In May, it will try to land in Utopia Planitia, a plain in the Northern Hemisphere, and deploy a rover to rotate for 90 days.

If successful, Tianwen-1 would make China the first country to orbit, land, and deploy on a land in its inaugural mission to Mars, becoming China’s first nation to bring samples back from the moon last year. Credibility enhanced. in the 1970s.

China had previously bid Mars with Russia in 2011, but the probing Russian spacecraft failed to exit Earth’s orbit and disintegrated in the Pacific Ocean.

Reporting by Ryan Wu; Writing by Tom Daly; Editing by Nick McPhee