China Tianwen-1 spacecraft sends back Mars video footage for first time
In the released video, white craters are visible on the planet’s surface, which fades from white to black as the probe flies over one Martian day.
China’s space agency has released video footage two days after its Mars probe successfully entered the red planet’s orbit.
The video shows the surface of the planet out of a pitch-black sky against the outside of the Tianwen-1. The Chinese Mars probe had entered the orbit of the Red Planet on February 10, 2021.
The probe weighing five-tonne is called Tianwen-1, which translates to “Questions to Heaven”. It includes an orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover. It was launched in July from southern China.
•In the released video, white craters are visible on the planet’s surface, which fades from white to black as the probe flies over one Martian day.
•Tianwen-1 is expected to touch down on the surface of Mars in May. It entered the orbit of the planet less than two days after UAE's Hope spacecraft successfully inserted itself into the Red Planet's orbit, marking a historic first for the Arab World.
•The United States Mars probe is also expected to enter Mars's orbit soon. It also comprises a rover- Perseverance, which is set to land to Mars on February 18, 2021.
•The Chinese scientists hope to land their rover in the Utopia basin, which is a huge impact basin on the Martian surface.
•While the solar-powered rover has been built to last for three months, the orbiter will last for a Martian year.
•The mission aims to study the Red Planet's soil and atmosphere and it will involve taking photos and looking for signs of ancient life.
•The Chinese probe has already sent back its first image of Mars – a black-and-white photo that showed geological features including the Schiaparelli crater and the Valles Marineris, a vast stretch of canyons on the Martian surface.
China's Mars Mission is the latest step in Beijing’s space programme, which aims to establish a crewed space station by 2022 and eventually put an astronaut on the moon.