We’ve been getting a lot of exciting news about Mars lately. As multiple countries continue to explore the Red Planet, we can only hope to see and hear about more spectacular findings. The U.S. is just one country that is searching for answers on one of our solar system’s smallest planets. NASA currently has a few rovers exploring Mars. Two of them are aptly named Diligence and Curiosity. Plus, there’s a lander named Insight.
While we’re finding out valuable information from NASA’s robotic explorers, we’re learning a lot from other countries, too. China’s space authority, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) has obtained interesting photos of the Red Planet. More specifically, the CNSA has gotten pictures of their own Mars orbiter, which has never been done before. The Mars orbiter is named Tianwen-1. To get these pictures, the CNSA used a neat little trick. To capture pictures of Mars’ orbit they used a wifi camera.
The pictures captured by China’s wifi camera give us a glimpse of what orbiting in space is like. We see China’s orbiter, of course, but we also see Mars in the background. The picture is so detailed that we can see ice at the North Pole of the planet. Chinese images have proven to be very insightful lately. Their rover, Jurong, has captured many landscape images that tell us more about Mars. For example, Jurong discovered a “mud volcano” on the planet that represented historic water sources.
In addition to the wifi orbital pictures, Chinese rovers have sent over 560 GB of data. All rovers and satellites are working just fine, so we can expect to hear more from Jurong and Tianwen-1.
Mars Rover Discovers “Treasure Chest”
In other recent Mars news, a NASA rover made an important discovery this week. The rover Perseverance has finally answered a question scientists have long been wondering about. In fact, the rover’s entire purpose was to solve this question. Good job, Perseverance. Scientists were curious if the Jezero crater was once a lake. We finally know the answer – it was. Plus, the rover got some rock samples that proved to be very valuable to NASA.
At first, scientists were unsure what the rocks were made out of. Chiefly, they wanted to know if they were water-based or volcanic-based. Thankfully, Perseverance’s camera could make out enough details to let us know that the rocks are, in fact, volcanic. Being able to analyze the rock samples will tell us the history of the lake-turned-crater. Not only will it help us learn more about what happened, but we’ll also gain a better understanding of the timeline. The rover was also able to pack away a piece of rock to be returned to Earth. When it gets back, it’ll be used for future missions.