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New images from Zhurong on Mars

Zhurong's view north
Click for full image.

China today released three new images from its Zhurong Mars rover, showing that since their last release in late June the rover has traveled about 1,000 feet to the south to reach the parachute and backshell (or entry capsule), both released just before landing.

The image to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, is the color panorama from that release, looking north. According to a translation of the Chinese press release, provided at this report, the image shows:

“The complete back cover structure after aerodynamic ablation, the attitude control engine diversion hole on the back cover is clearly identifiable,”

Below is an annotated orbital picture of this location taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in mid-June.

Click for full image.

The red dot indicates the location of the rover just south of the parachute and entry capsule. The yellow lines mark the approximate area viewed in the panorama above. The large white dot to the north is where Zhurong was in mid-June. The two tiny white dots just above this show the lander (top) and Zhurong (bottom) shortly after it rolled off the lander in late May.

According the Chinese report, the rover has now traveled about 1,500 feet total, and is about 1,150 feet south of its lander.

In the panorama can be seen to the north and on the horizon the same pitted cone visible in the larger overview mosaic I posted here. That cone, which according to Alfred McEwen of the Lunar & Planetary Laboratory in Arizona and MRO’S principal investigator would be his prime geological target for Zhurong, is about four to six miles away.

The mission’s prime mission is about 90 days, and thus will end sometime in late August. However, if the rover is functioning well there is no reason it cannot operate for far longer. That in one only month it has traveled more than a thousand feet means it would take several years to travel to that cone. Though achieving that would be a great challenge, the rover is traveling at a much much faster travel pace than China’s Moon rover, Yutu-2, which has averaged about 100 feet per month.

Where it goes next however remains China’s secret, and they are not telling. That they aimed for the parachute and backshell as their first target suggests that they are giving a high priority to engineering data, which means they may continue to the southwest to inspect the heat shield, about two miles away.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Jeff Wright

    No EPA/FAA wimps there. I kinda admire their devil-may-care zeal for space conquest. Here the same side fearing the religious right turning back the clock to the Dark Ages are in fact pushing the clock farther back to the Stone Age with gaia uber alles eco-mad nonsense. Go live in a cave with Gore and Alley Oop…China sez…we’re tired of living in dirt amid sackcloth and ashes… Good on ’em. I wish I could ‘dssappear’ Proxmire types here.

  • wayne

    Michael Malice: Totalitarianism and Anarchy
    Lex Fridman Podcast #200 (July 15, 2021)

  • Lee Stevenson

    @Jeff Wright,

    I have never before agreed with someone I couldn’t understand a word they said, but I somehow do! Go you!

  • Lee Stevenson

    This place is obviously right wing, and very easily gives China short props for getting a rover on the moon, claiming “stolen tech”, but I see very little tech that they have used that could be correlated to the western Mars programs… This is China doing their thing. It’s working.

    Underestimate the Chinese at your ( our ) peril!

    I’m still betting on Chinese boots on Mars first… You can bet they are taking every data set from that rover, applying it to space suit tech, using everything they can, and aiming for boots on Mars…

    It’s the new space race, it’s exciting, and I don’t actually care who wins…. I will/ would be as happy to see a pair of Chinese boots on Mars as a pair of US,

    It means the game is on!

  • Lee Stevenson wrote: “I see very little tech that they have used that could be correlated to the western Mars programs.”

    You are wrong. You choose not to see. Anyone who knows anything about the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, built by JPL, can see the resemblance immediately. And we know the Chinese hacked into JPL’s database for several years.

    There is no doubt the Chinese improved and upgraded the designs of those JPL rovers, but there is also no doubt from these images that much of the initial design was copied from those rovers.

    The Chinese are doing wonderful things here. But they are doing it on stolen knowledge.

  • Jeff Wright

    So was Windows-Gates and Apple should give props to Xerox at least.

  • @ Jeff Wright: Agree about Apple and Xerox. I believe Xerox came out with the first commercial GUI.

    Perhaps the Chinese going to check out the flight debris represents a new responsibility on their part: you know, just to make sure nothing landed on a village, or anything.

  • Edward

    Blair K Ivey wrote: “I believe Xerox came out with the first commercial GUI.

    Xerox PARC invented the GUI but didn’t know what to do with it, so they gifted it to Apple under the condition that Apple commercialize it.

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