Friday, 31 July 2020

parting shot

Launched on 23 July, China’s mission to Mars, Tianwen-1, beamed back this postcard of a crescent Earth and its satellite from a distance of a little over a million kilometres as it accelerates towards the Red Planet.
The image joins a growing gallery of iconic photographs that help bring perspective and humility. The alignment of the two worlds mean that this is among the fastest and most efficient times for Martian travel and Tianwen-1—the first probe of a series of planned excursions and is named (ๅคฉๅ•) for the eponymous ancient work of epic prose that begins asking how the universe was created, thus Heavenly Questions—was joined during this auspicious launch window by and orbiter from the United Arab Emirates and NASA rover named Perseverance. All three will arrive in February 2021, touching down at Utopia Planitia.