China’s Tianwen 1 Mars orbiter changes orbit to begin planetary survey

China’s Tianwen 1 Mars orbiter has changed its orbit to begin a remote sensing survey of Mars after months of supporting the Zhurong rover.

The spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since February, and in May Tianwen 1 released the Zhurong rover for its successful landing attempt in Mars’ Utopia Planitia. Tianwen 1’s orbit saw it circle Mars three times every Martian day, or sol, including one pass overhead of the six-wheeled vehicle in order to relay data from Zhurong to Earth using its much larger antennae. 

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