China’s Tianwen 1 orbiter and Zhurong Mars Rover may have gone silent

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July 14, 2024

China's Tianwen 1 orbiter and Zhurong Mars Rover may have gone silent

China launched Tianwen 1 in July 2020, and Zhurong, China’s first Mars mission rover, landed on the Red Planet in May 2021. The two explored Mars without interruption, and Zhurong entered hibernation in May 2022 to help it survive the low temperatures, dust storms, and sandstorms common in the Martian winter. The rover has a special anti-dust coating on its solar panels, which are angled before entering hibernation in anticipation of storms and then emerging from hibernation.

However, after the Zhurong rover went into hibernation, teams on Earth still did not receive signals and it is still unknown what the problem might be. The reason for this is often thought to be that the sandstorms have seriously impaired Zhurong’s ability to use its solar panels to generate power.The Tianwen 1 Mars Orbiter, which surveys, maps and works with the Zhurong rover, has also gone silent and lost communications. It is also stated that it will not happen.

China’s space agency has yet to comment on the problems with the Tianwen 1 Mars orbiter and the Zhurong rover.

Zhurong Mars Rover (Image credit: CNSA)
Tianwen-1 (Image credit:CNSA)
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