China’s Tianwen-1 Mars probe captures epic video of Red Planet



China’s Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter captured this view of the Red Planet as it entered orbit around the planet on Feb. 10, 2021.  (Image credit: CCTV/CNSA)

Craters are also visible on the planet’s surface, while the solar panel appears to oscillate with the spacecraft firing its main engines to decelerate.

A second video is from the point of view of a monitoring camera for Tianwen-1’s tracking antenna, providing similarly amazing footage. The engineering survey sub-system consists of a number of small monitoring cameras used to monitor processes such as the deployment of solar arrays and other events, according to the China National Space Administration. The cameras took photos once every three seconds and continuously photographed for around half an hour. The videos have a frame rate of about 10 pictures per second.

Another Mars view from China’s Tianwen-1 orbiter taken as it entered orbit around the planet on Feb. 10, 2021.  (Image credit: CCTV/CNSA)

Tianwen-1, which means “Questioning the Heavens,” launched on July 23, 2020 and is China’s first independent interplanetary mission. It arrived in orbit around Mars after a 202-day, 295-million-mile (475 million kilometers) journey through deep space. It snapped an image of the Red Planet during its final approach.

The spacecraft consists of both an orbiter and a rover. The landing attempt for the rover is not expected until May or June, giving the orbiter time to image and map out the intended landing site in a region known as Utopia Planitia.

 

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