China’s Tianwen-1 probe made history on Friday, 5 February when spacecraft sent back its first image of Mars.
The Chinese National Space Administration published the black-and-white image of Mars when the probe was about 2.2 million kilometres from the red planet and is the first snapshot from the Chinese craft.
The Tianwen-1 probe has flown for a total of 197 days and more than 465 million kilometres on its journey to the planet, which first launched on 23 July 2020. It is now around 184 million km from Earth and 1.1 million km from Mars. Depending on the two planets’ orbits, Mars is between 55 and 400 million km from Earth, according to the Chinese National Space Administration.
Take a look at the image below:
Tianwen-1’s first picture of Mars! 🎉👏
The @CNSA_en‘s Tianwen-1 mission captured this image at a distance of 2.2 million kilometers (1.36 million miles) from the Red Planet.
(Image: CASC/CNSA) pic.twitter.com/XS3lThR3SZ
— Planetary Society (@exploreplanets) February 5, 2021
China’s #Tianwen1 spacecraft snapped its first image of #Mars at a distance of 2.2 mln km of the red planet! The probe has flown for 197 days & 465+ mln km on its journey and is now about 1.1 mln km from Mars. Tianwen-1 probe will enter orbit in less than a week. pic.twitter.com/RrYIWjfwiA
— Ambassador Deng Xijun (@China2ASEAN) February 6, 2021
The probe is scheduled to enter Mar’s orbit on 10 February 2021 and is expected to touch down near the Utopia impact basin in May, assuming everything goes to plan.
When Tianwen-1 does eventually land on the surface of Mars, it will deploy a variety of equipment used to study the planet. These include a Mars orbiter, lander, and a rover.
China isn’t stopping at Mars though. According to reports from The Guardian, the space agency also plans on launching its very own space station into orbit by 2022.
#China and @UNOOSA signed a declaration on international space cooperation – researchers from countries all over the world will be able to use the China Space Station. 🌌 🚀 🛸 https://t.co/zalczln7Pg pic.twitter.com/cJJpdwvOCx
— Mission of China (@ChinaEUMission) June 20, 2018