China's space probe sends back its first image of Mars
The spacecraft, launched in July around the same time as a rival US mission, is expected to enter Mars orbit around February 10.
The black-and-white photo released late Friday by the China National Space Administration showed geological features including the Schiaparelli crater and the Valles Marineris, a vast stretch of canyons on the Martian surface.
The photo was taken about 2.2 million kilometres (1.4 million miles) from Mars, according to CNSA, which said the spacecraft was now 1.1 million kilometres from the planet.
The robotic craft ignited one of its engines to "make an orbital correction" Friday and was expected to slow down before being "captured by Martian gravity" around February 10, the agency said.
The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet's soil.
It has made huge strides in the past decade, sending a human into space in 2003.
The Asian powerhouse has laid the groundwork to assemble a space station by 2022 and gain a permanent foothold in Earth orbit.
But Mars has proved a challenging target so far, with most missions sent by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and India to the planet since 1960 ending in failure.
A previous mission with Russia in 2011 ended prematurely as the launch failed.
All systems on the Tianwen-1 probe are in "good condition," CNSA said Friday.