A Chinese orbiter has mapped the entire surface of Mars

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) reported this week that the Chinese Tianwen-1 spacecraft had finished photographing the whole surface of Mars

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 As part of a global survey, the orbiter, which flew to Mars alongside the rover Zhurong, has been gathering photographs of the planet's surface since it touched down there in February 2021.

The Tianwen-1 orbiter spent its time on Mars making 1,344 orbits while collecting data using scientific equipment like cameras, magnetometers, spectrometers, and a radar device

 The CNSA claims that the orbiter's medium-resolution camera scanned the whole surface during its 706 days of operation.

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Space writer Andrew Jones posted images acquired by the orbiter on Twitter showing various views of the surface of the red planet from orbit, including impact craters and other topographical features.

The orbiter that captured these photographs, the rover Zhurong, and a lander that delivered the rover to the surface are all components of the Tianwen-1 mission. 

The rover has also been active, traversing the Utopia Planitia region of the planet for over 2,000 metres.

The rover was put into a dormant mode in May due to the region's escalating cold, and it will be revived once the weather warms up in December.

Although the orbiter and the rover have already finished their primary tasks, they will still be employed for upcoming exploration because they are both still functional

Including data from orbiters shared with other space agencies including NASA and the European Space Agency, CNSA claims to have acquired 1,040GB of data from them thus far (ESA).

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