To celebrate the new year, China National Space Administration (CNSA) published astonishing pictures of the Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter above the north pole of the red planet, according to Shanghai Morning Post.
CNSA said the images were taken by a detachable sensor equipped with two high-definition cameras. The first picture shows the orbiter above the north pole ice cap of Mars.
The second picture is a close-up of the orbiter's golden exterior skin where high-speed data communication antennas and a solar wing are seen. Beyond the orbiter are ice caps though not the ice we consider on Earth. Mar's ice caps are dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) and water ice.
The third picture shows the north pole ice cap, almost like a vanilla swirl ice cream cone.
The next image is the Zhu Rong rover on the surface of Mars. We can see the topography of the desolate planet that Elon Musk wants to rocket people to at the end of the decade.
We've been closely following the Tianwen-1 mission. In February of last year, the orbiter entered the orbit of the red planet. A couple of months later, a rover was released on the surface of the planet.
The mission so far means China is the only country besides the US to land a rover on Mars successfully. Its mission is to explore the surface and geology of the planet.
Space is becoming the next battleground domain for both US and China. Beijing has become super aggressive in space in the last year. The country has also landed a spacecraft on the moon and collected lunar rock samples.
The final frontier is space -- the world's superpowers are on a hunt for trillion-dollar deposits of rare metals that will power Earth's green energy revolution in decades to come.