China has released the first images taken by its Zhurong rover which landed on Mars May 14 as part of China's Tianwen-1 mission.
Mission operator, the China National Space Administration, has released two Mars photographs taken by the rover: one in color and one in black and white. Both photos show the rover and its lander against the backdrop of Utopia Planitia - the vast northern plain that Zhurong will explore throughout its mission.
"People of the internet, the Mars images you've been longing for are here," the space agency said in a social media post.
Zhurong, named after a legendary China fire deity, arrived a few months after the U.S.'s new Mars probe, Perseverance, and has been celebrated in China as a milestone in the country's ascension to space superpower status.
It is expected to spend three months on the planet photographing and collecting geographical data.
China has come a long way in its race to catch up with the U.S. and Russia, whose astronauts and cosmonauts have decades of space exploration experience.
The color picture depicts a view of Zhurong's rear from a navigation camera located above the rover's main deck. Solar arrays, as well as some surface rocks and features, are visible. The black-and-white picture is from the rover's front-facing obstacle-avoidance camera. It was taken with a wide-angle lens, which also showed a view of the Mars horizon in the distance, as well as two subsurface radar instruments on the rover.
The space administration released two videos of the orbiter and Zhurong rover's landing capsules separating during Friday's maneuver, in addition to the surface images. Both videos show the capsule pulling away from the orbiter and are captured by cameras on the orbiter.
China's successful Mars landing made the country the second nation, after the U.S., to soft-land on Mars. The former Soviet Union and the European Space Agency also sent missions to the surface of Mars - but they were unsuccessful.
The arrival of Zhurong takes the number of active Mars rovers to three - joining the U.S.'s National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Curiosity and Perseverance rovers.
The landing is part of China's Tianwen-1 mission, which also served as the country's first successful Mars orbiter.