China releases new images taken by Mars rover

China’s Mars rover Zhurong has traveled more than 300 meters on the surface of the red planet and sent back new images about the Martian rocks, sand and dust.

As of Thursday, Zhurong has been working on the Martian surface for 54 Martian days and has traveled more than 300 meters, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

A Martian day is approximately 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth.

Since the rover landed on the surface of Mars, it has been traveling southward to carry out inspection and exploration.

The navigation terrain camera takes images of the landforms along the way every day. The subsurface radar, meteorological measurement instrument and surface magnetic field detector were also turned on for detection.

When the rover met notable landforms like rocks and sand dunes, the surface composition detector and multispectral camera carried out fixed-point detection.

In two images of Martian rocks, the texture features of the Martian rocks and ruts of the rover are seen clearly, and some rock surfaces are covered with dust.

June 26 is Zhurong’s 42nd Martian day. The rover arrived at a sand dune area. The navigation terrain camera onboard took images of a red sand dune about six meters from it. In one image, stones of different sizes are scattered around the dune. The stone facing the rover is about 0.34 meters wide.

July 4 is Zhurong’s 50th Martian day. It drove to the south side of the sand dune, which is about 40 meters long, eight meters wide and 0.6 meters high.

A cluster of stones with various shapes is shown on the left of an image. And the back cover and parachute of the lander can be seen in the upper right corner. When Zhurong took the image, the linear distance between the rover and the landing point was about 210 meters, and the distance between the rover and the back cover and parachute was about 130 meters.

China’s Tianwen-1 mission, consisting of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, was launched on July 23, 2020. The lander carrying the rover touched down in the southern part of Utopia Planitia, a vast plain in the northern hemisphere of Mars, on May 15.

The rover Zhurong drove down from its landing platform to the Martian surface on May 22, starting its exploration of the red planet, and making China the second country after the United States to land and operate a rover on Mars.