China did not offer official updates on the Zhurong rover for several months after it could not exit hibernation mode at the end of last year. Maybe it “went into eternal slumber.” This view is supported by the message of the primary designer of the Chinese spacecraft studying Mars. At the very least, no information about its prospective work was announced.
The Zhurong rover went into sleep mode in May 2022 because winter had arrived on the planet. As a result, the temperature on the planet’s surface dropped, the season of violent dust storms began, and the device’s solar panels began to get less sunlight to charge their batteries.
It was revealed in early January this year that Chinese scientists were unsuccessfully attempting to contact the dormant rover. It was intended to return to its scientific duties on Mars in December 2022, but this did not occur.
China marked the second anniversary of the Tianwen-1 mission’s arrival in Mars orbit in February, with the Zhurong rover descending to the Red Planet in May 2021. However, Chinese experts remained deafeningly silent regarding the rover’s condition and what happened.
According to Reuters, Chinese scientists have now commented about the device’s state and what caused its long, many months of hibernation. Zhang Rongqiao, the principal designer of the Chinese spacecraft investigating Mars, stated on Tuesday, April 25. According to the scientist, the failure of the Zhurong rover was most likely caused by too much Martian dust, which blanketed the entire system.
Because of the dust buildup, the rover’s solar panels could not receive enough sunlight, resulting in its batteries not charging. As a result, the rover was unable to awaken from sleep mode.
According to a Chinese engineer, the Zhurong rover travelled 1921 metres on Mars while conducting scientific experiments. The device operated on Mars for 358 days, or nearly one Earth year, even though it was supposed to operate for only three months.
Earlier, the NASA orbiter relayed photographs to Earth, which led American scientists to believe that the Chinese rover has been in the same location for a long period, at least since September 2022.
The 240 kg Zhurong rover was outfitted with six pieces of equipment for studying Mars’ surface and atmosphere. It also looked for evidence of ancient microbial life and water and water ice deposits beneath the planet’s surface. The Chinese instrument detected previously unknown hidden features on Mars.
In addition to the Zhurong rover, two NASA rovers on Mars are still working. Perseverance, for example, has been investigating Mars for over two years, while Curiosity has for nearly ten.
From 100 kilometres, the UAE orbiter captured the first comprehensive image of the Martian satellite Deimos.
In addition, the scientists were able to analyse the data from the failed, as a result of dust storm, Martian apparatus InSight, and determine what Mars’ core is.