The Cultural Differences — Even Millions Of Miles Out, On Frigid Mars — Cause A Smile, For Me…

I realize I should not (at some real risk of perhaps over-simplifying and thus mythologically stereo-typing), but as I compare the fish-eye views NASA regularly offers — of its rovers, from a utilitarian mast cam (multi-tasking!) of one kind or another — or a distant shot of the Ingenuity copter near the horizon. . . I cannot help but see this one, in contrast, as some Chinese grandfatherly figure, dreaming up the idea to drop a “single purpose” wireless camera from the belly of the Zhurong rover, about ten feet away from the base, then roll the rover back into the frame, square it up, in perfect mid-day Martian sunlight. . . and take the classic Chinese tourists’ “we were there” shot. On Mars — even down to the anthropomorphic tilt of the rover “face” — but shot, square on. Flawless.

Of course — there will be much fine, and deep science from the Chinese mission — in the months and perhaps even years to come. . . but even down to the way they will document it (cultural norms and such), to excite their own people about space science. . . is different — and fascinating, to me. Here’s a bit of it:

. . .China’s Zhurong rover, which landed on Mars on May 14, has sent a new batch of images to Earth — including a “family photo” featuring the rover together with its rocket-powered landing platform posing for a camera on the rock-covered surface.

The rover took this selfie by dropping a camera attached to its belly about 10 meters (32 feet) away from the landing platform, then positioning itself next to the landing platform, Chinese space officials said. The camera wirelessly transmitted the picture to the rover, which then sent it to Earth via the Tianwen-1 orbiter. . . .

To be fair, I did add the lens flare via photoshop software, and the lettering (obviously) — but that is the actual image from Mars. And I am grinning from ear to ear, now. . . . “we are, indeed here“! And. . . onward! [NASA image at left, for comparison purposes.]


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