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China's Tianwen 1 Mars orbiter takes amazing video selfie for lunar New Year

China's Tianwen 1 Mars orbiter is once again delivering stunning imagery, with a new video released to celebrate the lunar New Year.

The 38-second clip shows shadows and sunlight moving across the body of Tianwen 1, with the sunlight causing insulation to move slightly due to thermal expansion. Mars then appears below the spacecraft, with a number of Red Planet surface features soon becoming apparent.

Tianwen 1 pulled off a major deep-space surprise for the solar New Year by releasing a small, remote camera for a selfie above Mars. The new video (opens in new tab) comes thanks to a space selfie stick, extended out from the spacecraft to capture video footage.

Related: The latest news about China's space program

Screenshot from a recently released video selfie taken by China's Tianwen 1 Mars orbiter.

Screenshot from a recently released video selfie taken by China's Tianwen 1 Mars orbiter. (Image credit: CNSA)

The ultra-light bar weighs only 1.8 pounds (0.8 kilograms) and is made of shape memory composite, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, which built Tianwen 1. 

Tianwen 1, China's first fully homegrown interplanetary mission, arrived in Mars orbit in February 2021. The mission includes a rover called Zhurong, which has now covered a total of 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) since its deployment on May 22, 2021.

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Andrew Jones
Contributing Writer

Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for Space.com in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI (opens in new tab).