A spacecraft that has circled Mars over 1,300 times has captured a stunning series of photos covering the entire planet. Tianwen-1 is the name of the robotic spacecraft to Mars that actually consists of six separate pieces of equipment – an orbiter, two deployable cameras, a lander, a remote camera, and the Zhurong rover.
After over three months of preparations, the probe released the lander which touched down on Mars on May 14, 2021.
China’s Tianwen-1 orbiter has returned high-resolution images of the Martian south pole, where almost all of the planet’s water resources are locked. The Tianwen-1 orbiter successfully reached the Red Planet in February 2021 on China’s inaugural mission there. A photo of the surface was also taken by the Zhurong rover, which made its descent onto the planet’s surface as part of the Tianwen-1 mission on May 22, 2021.
Other images show the 2,485-mile (4,000-kilometre) long canyon Valles Marineris, and the impact craters of Arabia Terra, an upland region in the north of Mars.
Locating subsurface water is key to determining the planet’s potential for life, as well as providing a permanent resource for any human exploration there.Tianwen-1 also sent back Maunder crater high-resolution imagery of the edge of the 57-mile (91-kilometer) on the Southern Highlands of Mars.