The planet Mars captured by the Chinese probe Tianwen-1, published on February 5, 2021. -
CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION / AFP
The red planet in black and white.
This Friday, the Chinese Space Agency (CNSA) published a first snapshot of the planet Mars, taken by the Tianwen-1 probe, which is due to arrive there around February 10.
The first photo received on Earth of the red planet appears to show a gaseous assembly and what resembles craters.
The black-and-white snapshot was taken about 2.2 million kilometers from Mars, according to the Chinese space agency, which launched its craft in late July from China.
Chinese first attempt
The photo shows Valles Marineris (canyons near the equator of the Red Planet), Schiaparelli (a large crater) and the Acidalia Planitia plain, the CNSA said.
Tianwen-1 is composed of three elements: an orbiter (which will revolve around the star), a lander and a wheeled remote-controlled robot (responsible for analyzing the ground).
The wheeled unmanned robot, contained in the probe, is expected to be deployed to Mars in May.
Weighing more than 200 kilos, it is equipped with four solar panels and is supposed to be operational for three months.
Among its missions: conducting soil and atmospheric analyzes, taking photos, or contributing to the mapping of the red planet.
Ambitious, China hopes to do in this first independent attempt to explore Mars almost everything the United States has achieved in several Mars missions since the 1960s. That is to say, place a probe in orbit, pose a lander, then bring out a remote-controlled robot.
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