One thing could have long past very incorrect for China’s first-ever Mars challenge.
China introduced Tianwen 1 in July 2020 and the challenge’s rover, named Zhurong, touched down at the Crimson Planet in Might 2021. The duo explored Mars easily till Might 2022, when Zhurong was once put into hibernation, hunkering down for the tough iciness.
However the rover would possibly not have exited hibernation as anticipated, in step with reviews from Area Information (opens in new tab), which cite reporting from the South China Morning Put up (opens in new tab) (SCMP), an English-language newspaper founded in Hong Kong, that Zhurong was once anticipated to get up in December and hasn’t referred to as house but. And concurrently, the Tianwen 1 Mars orbiter seems to be experiencing a communications glitch.
Zhurong entered hibernation in Might 2022 to lend a hand it journey out the low temperatures, filth storms and sand storms not unusual in Martian iciness. The rover includes a particular anti-dust coating on its sun panels, which it angled prior to hibernating in anticipation of the storms and its next emergence from hibernation.
Nonetheless, it seems that one thing has long past incorrect. Unnamed resources advised the SCMP that groups on Earth have not begun to obtain sign from the rover following hibernation. It is unknown what the problem could be, however an unnamed supply advised SCMP that “in all probability the sandstorms have critically weakened Zhurong’s capability to make use of its sun panels to generate energy.”
There may be extra unhealthy information for China’s house company: It seems that that the Tianwen 1 orbiter has additionally long past quiet. The orbiter first of all scouted for touchdown places for Zhurong prior to serving as a communications relay for the rover. Since then, the Tianwen 1 orbiter has been sporting out its personal science program, together with surveying and mapping the Crimson Planet.
“A Beijing-based supply mentioned floor keep an eye on had encountered issue when downloading the most recent knowledge from the orbiting probe, which is provided with two cameras,” South China Morning Put up wrote. Beginner radio operators have even noticed that Tianwen 1 floor stations seem to have stopped making an attempt to make touch (opens in new tab) with the orbiter.
China’s house company has but to remark at the problems with Zhurong and Tianwen 1.