China snaps selfies of its space lab

Shenzhou 11 and Tiangong
A “selfie” from China’s Banxing 2 inspection satellite shows the Shenzhou 11 spaceship docked to the Tiangong 2 orbital lab. (Credit: CAS via CCTV)

China’s Tiangong 2 space lab has a paparazzi traveling alongside it, in the form of a picture-snapping satellite that’s the size of a desktop printer.

The satellite, Banxing 2, was released from the lab over the weekend and has already captured hundreds of images of Tiangong 2 with the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft docked to it.

Testing what’s been called an orbital “selfie stick” is one of the prime objectives of the 30-day Shenzhou mission currently being conducted by Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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