The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has released images from its Tianwen 1 mission, including the spacecraft in orbit near Mars.
The photographs garnered a lot of attention on social media, particularly from engineers from other space organizations that specialize in Mars photography.
The Mars images were captured by a small camera device launched by the orbiter which subsequently took images and relayed them to Tianwen 1 over WiFi.
The pictures reveal the golden body of Tianwen 1, the silver high-gain antenna for communications, solar arrays, and science antenna, giving an unprecedented glimpse of a spacecraft in orbit above another planet. The spacecraft's radar antenna is parallel to the solar array in this close-up.
Tianwen 1 has been orbiting Mars since February 2021, and the Zhurong rover was released in May for its landing.
On its route to Mars, the orbiter performed a similar maneuver, deploying a small camera to take images of the probe while it was still attached in its aeroshell. The spacecraft, however, had another trick up its sleeve in the form of the New Year's image.
The moves were planned to promote public relations on specified dates. The deep space selfies were released on Oct. 1, China's National Day. Tianwen 1 would also enter orbit around Mars just days before the Chinese New Year in 2021, highlighting the feat in official celebrations.
The images also had some practical use, displaying Tianwen 1's current state after more than a year in space.
The CNSA announcement also included three images put together to illustrate the vehicle's surroundings in Utopia Planitia, as well as a brief update on the Zhurong rover's surface journeys.
The rover has been on Mars' surface for 225 Martian days, or sols, as of Dec. 31 Beijing time, and has traveled a total of 4,593 feet (1,400 meters). In an early December update, Zhurong was last reported to have traveled 4,255 feet (1,297 meters) in 196 sols.
Updates on Zhurong have become less frequent since a planetary blackout caused by the Earth and Mars being on opposite sides of the Sun, followed by Tianwen 1 changing its orbit to begin its own science mission and reduce its role as a communications relay for Zhurong, which has only a small antenna.
In November, the European Space Agency's Mars Express successfully transmitted data from China's Zhurong Mars rover to Earth as part of a series of experimental communications testing.
Check out Tianwen 1's new Mars images below: