The Chinese rover “Zhuzhong” sent a panorama of the Martian surface before switching to safe mode for a month and turning off the main power, the newspaper writes Space.com.
The six-wheeled 240-kilogram solar-powered rover has been traveling through the Utopia Valley for a hundred days and has passed 1064 m of the way during this time. Its successful landing took place on May 22, following the arrival of the first Chinese station “Tianwen-1” into Mars orbit, which began its work in February 2021. However, from mid-September to the end of October, the rover and the orbital station will have to switch to safe mode, since their communication with the Earth is hindered by charged particles from the Sun. At the same time, the American Mars rovers Curiosity and Perseverance will also switch to offline mode. In preparation for this break, it was decided to stop the all-terrain vehicle and take a good look around with the help of a panoramic camera. In the foreground of this panorama, the solar panels of the rover and its communication facilities are visible. A number of small details can be seen on the horizon, including the landing platform directly above the Zhuzhong antenna. Since landing, the Zhuzhong has been moving south from this place, studying various rocks, dunes, and other objects.
China’s next Mars expedition is designated as a mission to return samples of Martian soil to Earth, its launch is scheduled for 2028 or 2030. China is also looking for other ways to expand its space exploration capabilities, including using flying vehicles similar to the NASA Ingenuity helicopter.