On a dusty Martian surface, a Chinese rover takes a selfie.


On a dusty Martian surface, a Chinese rover takes a selfie.

The Chinese space agency has released images of the dusty, stony surface of Mars obtained by a Chinese rover.

The Zhurong rover and lander are seen in four photos issued by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) to be carrying miniature national flags.

According to the CNSA, Zhurong set up a remote camera about 33 feet away from the landing platform, then walked away to take a picture.

Last month, the CNSA successfully landed the Tianwen-1 spacecraft carrying the rover on Mars after a three-month orbit.

After the United States, China is the second country to land and operate a spacecraft on Mars.

Both the orbiter and the lander have miniature Chinese flags on them, and the lander has outlines of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics mascots.

The six-wheeled rover is scouring an area known as Utopia Planitia for traces of water or ice that could reveal whether Mars has ever supported life.

Zhurong is substantially smaller than the Perseverance rover, which is exploring the planet with a tiny helicopter and stands at 6 feet tall.

Nasa anticipates collecting the first sample from its rover in July, with a return to Earth as early as 2031.

Aside from the Mars mission, China’s ambitious space program expects to launch its new space station with its first crew next week.

The three crew members aim to stay aboard the Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, station for three months, which is significantly longer than any previous Chinese expedition.

They’ll go on spacewalks, work on building and maintenance projects, and conduct science research.

The station will be expanded, supplies will be sent, and crews will be exchanged in subsequent launches.

China has also returned lunar samples for the first time since the 1970s, as well as landing a probe and rover on the moon’s less visited far side.


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