Scientist Says China’s Mars Rover Might Stay Dormant

China’s first interplanetary rover, Zhurong, will doubtless keep dormant on Mars, a Chinese language scientist stated on state media CCTV on April 25.

Zhang Rongqiao, the chief scientist of China’s Mars mission, stated that Zhurong has not moved on account of a scarcity of solar energy attributable to a pile-up of sand and mud because it went into “hibernation” in Could 2022.

The Zhurong rover was anticipated to reactivate final December when Mars went into spring equinox.

The Dormant Rover

In Could 2022, the Chinese language rover entered a deliberate hibernation state to get by way of the low photo voltaic radiation ranges of winter in Mars’ Utopia Planitia area, the place the spacecraft landed.

NASA Mars Meteo
Boulder-size blocks of water ice across the rim of an impression crater on Mars, as considered by the Excessive-Decision Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE digicam) aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, on this picture made obtainable by NASA on Oct. 27, 2022. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/College of Arizona through AP)

In line with photos of the rover taken final 12 months on March 11 and Sept. 8 and on Feb. 7 this 12 months, the rover has not modified its place since September 2022, in line with a Feb. 21 report by the HiRISE Operations Middle. The photographs had been captured by a digicam on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

On Tuesday, Zhang, the chief engineer of the Tianwen-1 mission, defined on CCTV that mud and sand accumulation might have precipitated the rover to enter a dormant mode.

“A 20 % mud protection will result in the facility era situation of the rover, 30 % would require the strongest lighting circumstances to reawaken [the rover], whereas 40 % means the rover is over, by no means waking up,” he stated.

The 240-kilogram Zhurong rover touched down on the southern Utopia Planitia on Could 14, 2021.

Tianwen-1 was certainly one of three missions that arrived on Mars in February 2021, together with the U.S. Perseverance rover and the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Hope orbiter.

NASA’s nuclear-powered Perseverance landed on the purple planet on Feb. 18, 2021. The mission has been energetic ever since, in search of indicators of historic life and amassing samples of rock and soil for potential future analysis.

The UAE’s Hope landed on Mars on Feb. 9, 2021. In February this 12 months, the spacecraft moved to a brand new orbit round Mars to review one of many planet’s tiny moons, Deimos.

Zhang Ting contributed to this report.

Originally posted 2023-04-26 20:22:54.