Skip to main content

China releases video of spacecraft orbiting Mars for Lunar New Year

China releases video of spacecraft orbiting Mars for Lunar New Year

/

Ride along in the Red Planet’s orbit

Share this story

Image: Screenshot from Tianwen-1 video on China Xianhu News

China’s first Mars orbiter, Tianwen-1, is showing off its journey around the Red Planet in a newly released selfie video ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year. The brief clip, released Monday by the China National Space Administration, shows a good portion of the spacecraft’s body, engines, and solar array zooming through space, with portions of Mars’ surface appearing in the background.

The Tianwen-1 orbiter has been circling Mars for nearly a year now. After launching from China in July of 2020, the vehicle inserted itself into the planet’s orbit in February of 2021. The spacecraft is China’s first mission to successfully reach the Red Planet’s orbit, making the nation one of just a handful of countries to explore Mars robotically. Tianwen-1 came to Mars bundled together with a lander and a rover, both of which successfully landed on the planet’s surface in May of last year.

Typically, China is fairly opaque when it comes to its spaceflight missions, releasing only limited information about launches and its spacecraft. But the country has released some enticing pictures of the Tianwen-1 mission recently. This isn’t even Tianwen-1’s first selfie. In early January, the orbiter released a small spacecraft with a camera onboard, which snapped pictures of Tianwen-1 with a very large Mars in the background. Tianwen-1 also captured a picture of itself during its transit to Mars by releasing another spacecraft with a camera on it that captured the vehicle encased in its protective shell. This recent video was taken by a camera attached to Tianwen-1.

Spacecraft selfies have been a delightful aspect of space missions baked into vehicles for decades. NASA’s various Mars rovers, including Curiosity and Perseverance, have created beautiful selfie mosaics of themselves and the Martian landscape. China’s rover also snapped a picture of itself on the Martian surface after its landing last year. Additionally, when NASA landed its Insight lander on Mars, the space agency sent two small satellites that rode along with the vehicle, one of which also captured a selfie of itself while in space with Mars in the background.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 57 minutes ago Midjourneys

A
External Link
Andrew J. Hawkins57 minutes ago
Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle brand is about to go public via SPAC

LiveWire has completed its merger with a blank-check company and will make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange today. Harley-Davison CEO Jochen Zeitz called it “a proud and exciting milestone for LiveWire towards its ambition to become the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world.” Hopefully it also manages to avoid the cash crunch of other EV SPACs, like Canoo, Arrival, Faraday Future, and Lordstown.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterAn hour ago
“There’s an endless array of drama going on surrounding Twitch right now.”

That’s Ryan Morrison, CEO of Evolved Talent Agency, which represents some of the biggest streamers around. And he’s right — as you can read in this investigation from my colleague Ash Parrish, who looked into just what’s going on with Amazon’s livestreaming service.


J
External Link
Jess WeatherbedTwo hours ago
Won’t anyone think of the billionaires?

Forbes reports that rising inflation and falling stock prices have collectively cost members of the Forbes 400 US rich list $500 billion in 2022 with tech tycoons suffering the biggest losses.

Jeff Bezos (worth $151 billion) lost $50 billion, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin (worth a collective $182b) lost almost $60b, Mark Zuckerberg (worth $57.7b) lost $76.8b, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (worth $4.5b) lost $10.4b. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (worth $83b) lost $13.5b while his ex-boss Bill Gates (worth $106b) lost $28b, albeit $20b of that via charity donations.


T
Thomas Ricker6:45 AM UTC
Check out this delightful DART Easter egg.

Just Google for “NASA DART.” You’re welcome.


R
Twitter
Richard Lawler12:00 AM UTC
A direct strike at 14,000 mph.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) scored a hit on the asteroid Dimorphos, but as Mary Beth Griggs explains, the real science work is just beginning.

Now planetary scientists will wait to see how the impact changed the asteroid’s orbit, and to download pictures from DART’s LICIACube satellite which had a front-row seat to the crash.


M
The Verge
We’re about an hour away from a space crash.

At 7:14PM ET, a NASA spacecraft is going to smash into an asteroid! Coverage of the collision — called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — is now live.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 26
There’s a surprise in the sky tonight.

Jupiter will be about 367 million miles away from Earth this evening. While that may seem like a long way, it’s the closest it’s been to our home planet since 1963.

During this time, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye (but binoculars can help). You can check where and when you can get a glimpse of the gas giant from this website.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 26
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.


R
External Link
Russell BrandomSep 26
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?


R
External Link
Russell BrandomSep 26
Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship.

The NSA whistleblower has been living in Russia for the 9 years — first as a refugee, then on a series of temporary residency permits. He applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, but has said he won’t renounce his status as a U.S. citizen.