Solar panels deployed in an extraterrestrial landscape, ramps and antennas pointed towards the Martian horizon: the first Chinese probe on the red planet sent its first “selfies” to Earth, after its historic landing last week.

The “Zhurong” rover, attached to a lander, entered the atmosphere of Mars on Saturday and became the first probe to have landed successfully on this planet by a country carrying out its first Martian mission.

We have a Hi-Res visual!

This is #Zhurong (# Tianwen1) Mars Rover reporting to Earthlings!

I'm currently at 109.9E, 25.1N, Utopia Planitia, March.

All look good!

Preparing for the final deployment and scientific missions.

Water / Ice under Mars 100m-deep surface?

About to find out!

- Chinese Zhurong Mars Rover (@MarsZhurong) May 19, 2021

Zhurong, so named after the fire god of Chinese mythology, arrived a few months after the last American probe to reach the surface of Mars, Perseverance, and was celebrated in China as a milestone in its rise to status. space superpower.

The Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) on Wednesday released images taken by the rover, which show the vehicle's obstacle avoidance system and solar panels, as well as Martian soil.

Short mission

"People of the Internet, the images of Mars you have been eagerly awaiting are here," the agency wrote in a social media post containing the images.

The operation aimed at landing the rover was delicate for the Chinese engineers.

The official media described the use of a parachute to slow its descent and the deployment of the landing gear as "the most difficult part of the mission".

The vehicle is slated to run for three months, which it should spend taking photos and gathering data on the local geography.

China has come a long way to catch up with Russia and the United States, whose astronauts have decades of experience in space exploration.

It successfully launched the first module of its upcoming space station last month.

She hopes to make it habitable by 2022 and aims to send humans to the Moon afterwards.

  • Science