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Zhurong and its landing site captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The green specks are the lander and rover. Credit: NASA/JPL/UArizona
China’s Zhurong rover has been snapped by powerful cameras aboard several spacecraft circling Mars. One of the images — a high resolution colour shot (above) taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) — offers scientists an extremely detailed view of the landing site.
“It’s incredible!” says Peter Grindrod, a planetary scientist at the Natural History Museum in London. The image, taken on 6 June, also reveals Zhurong has made reasonable headway, travelling 22 metres from the lander. “Driving on Mars appears to be going OK,” he says.
The image, snapped by the MRO's HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment), offers the best look so far at hazards and scientific targets on the surface, adds Alfred McEwen, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and principal investigator for HiRISE’s camera.