Tianwen 1 takes selfies en route to Mars

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-10-01 14:18
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Mars probe Tianwen 1 is seen in its first selfies in space. [Photo/CNSA]

The China National Space Administration released midflight images of Mars probe Tianwen 1 as the country's National Day coincided with the Mid-Autumn Festival on Thursday.

Tianwen 1 reported to the motherland that it is safe and sent its best birthday wishes, the CNSA said in a news release.

The images show China's five-star red flag highlighted on the golden orbiter and silver lander and rover in the darkness of space.

The flag on Tianwen 1, weighing about 144 grams, is about 39 centimeters by 26 cm in dimension, slightly smaller than a piece of A3 paper. It is sprayed onto the probe with special materials and overprint technology, according to the release.

Mars probe Tianwen 1 is seen in its first selfies in space. [Photo/CNSA]

It was the first time that Tianwen 1 took selfies. The images were captured by a separating measurement sensor installed on the outer wall of the probe. With commands from ground control on Earth, the sensor separated from the probe and took one picture every second with its two wide-angle lenses.

The images were sent to Tianwen 1 via Wi-Fi and then dispatched to Earth.

As of Wednesday, Tianwen 1 had flown about 188 million kilometers and had reached some 24.1 million km away from Earth. All its systems are in good condition.

China launched the Mars probe on July 23. It was designed to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission. The probe is expected to reach the red planet around February 2021.

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