FP trendJune 11, 2021 6:05:21 PM IST
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has captured an image of the China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) Zhurong rover on Mars. The image shows the rover a short distance from its landing pad on Mars. Recently, CNSA had released a black and white image of the site, but MRO’s High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) the camera has clicked on a color photo. With capturing the rover, MRO’s HiRISE has captured the earth surrounded by an explosion pattern. The capsule components including the rear shell and heat shield and parachute that successfully landed the landing and rover duo are also visible.
The HIRISE camera takes pictures that cover vast areas of the terrain of Mars. It works similar to a human eye, but with a telescopic lens. Images are captured at resolutions that will allow us to see features as small as a kitchen table on Mars.
This image was taken on June 6 and also shows that the rover has drifted quite a distance, about 22 meters from the lander. This image clicked by HiRISE is the first independent confirmation of the Chinese rover’s presence on Mars, reports BBC.
Speaking about the image, Alfred McEwen, Principal Investigator for the HiRISE camera, said it gives them a chance to observe the science target and the dangers on the Martian surface. McEwen works at the University of Arizona as a planetary scientist.
Although there is no cooperation between NASA and the Chinese space agency on the Tianwen-1 mission, McEwen hopes that CNSA may find something of interest with the new HiRISE image, he reports. Nature.
“Is incredible!” Peter Grindrod, planetary scientist at the Natural History Museum in London said Nature. “Driving on Mars seems to be going well.”
Earlier this week, CNSA had published images of the Zhurong Rover, connected by its Tianwen-1 orbiter. The black-and-white image shows the mission’s landing site along with the Zhurong rover on the Martian surface.
On the morning of May 15, the Tianwen-1 lander and rover landed on Utopia Planitia, which is located in the southern part of an icy region on the surface of Mars. The Tianwen-1 mission was launched from Earth on July 23, 2020. It consists of a rover, a lander, and an orbiter. This is the first time that any other country except the United States of America has managed to land safely on Mars.
Weighing in at 240kg, the rove looks a lot like NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers from the 2000s.
HiRISE has been working hard and also captured images of the Perseverance rover. A recent Blog of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has shared the HiRISE clicked image of the path the Perseverance rover will take during its first science campaign on the red planet.