A selfie video taken by China’s Mars probe Tianwen-1 was released by China National Space Administration (CNSA) on 31 January 2022, perfectly timing it with the Chinese New Year eve.
Millions of fans of the country’s space programme were able to see the outstanding example of China’s achievement in the space race cruising above the Red Planet.
The video comes days after China released its fifth five-year space exploration plan.
What Tianwen-1 selfie video shows
The video was made by the orbiter using a selfie stick and a camera mounted on the craft. In the video, the 3000N engine of the space probe is visible along with its propellant tank and the altitude control engine. All of which, according to state-media CGTN, appear to be in good condition.
China’s Mars probe Tianwen-1 extended festival greetings to the Chinese people with stunning video footage captured by a camera on its orbiter to snap selfies above the red planet on Monday, the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year https://t.co/6lCYTk7zEf pic.twitter.com/GfSe3tBZEJ
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) January 31, 2022
In the video, the probe is seen flying over the northern ice cap of Mars. A Chinese flag is also seen in the frame. According to CGTN, the selfie stick weighs 800 grams and is 1.6 metres long.
Other reports say that the selfie was the second taken by Tianwen-1. It previously took its own pictures in January using a small spacecraft with an onboard camera.
The journey of Tianwen-1
Tianwen-1 is China’s first Mars orbiter mission. It was launched aboard a heavy-lift carrier rocket, Long March 5, from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan Province in July 2020.
As of 31 January 2022, Tianwen-1 completed 557 days in orbit and was at a distance of about 3.5 million kilometres from Earth.
Its rover, Zhurong, successfully landed on the planet in May 2021. It has spent 255 Martian days on the planet and has travelled 1524 metres, as per CGTN.
The state-media reports that the mission has led to 600 GB of raw scientific data.
The road ahead for China
On 28 January, China released a white paper outlining its plans for space in the next five years.
“In the next five years, China will integrate space science, technology and applications while pursuing the new development philosophy, building a new development model and meeting the requirements for high-quality development,” the white paper, titled ‘China’s Space Program: A 2021 Perspective’, states.
The plans include upgrading its spacecraft and reusable rockets, new satellites, launch of its own space telescope named Xuntian, and the completion of its ambitious space station.
Above all, China is aiming to launch an exploration of Jupiter besides a crewed mission to the moon.
(Main and Featured images: China National Space Administration/China Xinhua News/@XHNews/Twitter)