A Chinese space probe sent the first image of the red planet to Earth on its way to Mars. The image published on Friday by the Chinese space agency CNSA shows a gaseous formation with several craters. The picture was taken around 2.2 million kilometers from Mars.
China started its first Mars mission “Tianwen-1” (Questions to Heaven) in July. An orbiter, a lander and a rover were launched into space with a launcher. The robot, which weighs around 200 kilograms, is to land on Mars in May and examine the atmosphere and soil of the Red Planet for around three more months, take pictures and help map the surface.
Mars missions have been around since the 1960s, but around half of them failed. So far, only the USA has succeeded in using rovers on the red planet. On July 30th, the US space agency NASA wants to send another, particularly large rover on its way. In 2011, China and Russia tried to send a probe to Mars. The mission failed, however, and Beijing decided to go it alone.