China’s Tianwen-1 Spacecraft Took a Selfie Using a Tiny, Secondary Spacecraft

Remember when China's Tianwen-1 spaceship released a remote camera to take a picture of itself during its journey to Mars? The mini remote camera has been released by Tianwen-1 in Mars. Mars is part of the view.

The images are striking.

The first full photo of the orbiter was published by the China National Space Administration.

A remote camera took a picture of the Tainwen-1 spaceship. The credit is from the CNSA.

This is the first time that a picture has been taken of another spaceship at Mars, but the idea of bringing your own camera is pretty innovative.

The camera aboard NASA's Mars Global Surveyor captured images of NASA's Mars Odyssey in 2005. The first pictures of any Mars craft ever taken by another craft were taken by the European Space Agency's Mars Express. Credit: NASA.

The Chinese Mars lander and the Zhurong rover placed a wireless remote camera on the ground to take pictures of both the rover and lander.

The group photo was taken by a wireless camera. The Chinese Space Agency has credit.

Our initial reaction was that every spaceship should have a buddy with a camera to allow us to see how the craft is doing. Imagine if we could see actual pictures of the James Webb Space Telescope deploying its giant sun shield instead of just seeing data from the device. Imagine a camera flying around and crashing into the building. It might be too chancy.

The polar ice cap on Mars is seen in this image from a remote camera. There is a portion of the vehicle on the left. The credit is from the CNSA.

The launch of Tianwen 1 took place in July 2020. It entered Mars in February of 2021. A few months later, a landing capsule was released, sending a lander and a satellite to the surface of the planet. China was the third country after the United States and Russia to successfully land on Mars.

The 1.85-meter-tall, 240-kilogram Zhurong had worked on Mars for more than 200 days, far outliving its three-month life expectancy. The rover traveled more than 1,400 meters. The mission obtained and transmitted over 500 gigabytes of data on the Red Planet. The China National Space Administration said the orbiter is in good shape and still has plenty of energy.

The remote camera that was released from China's Tianwen-1 spaceship shows it on its way to Mars in 2020. The image is from the CNSA/CLEP.