The Chinese rover will soon go to sleep. Before that he offers us a magnificent panorama of Martian soil.
If the NASA Perseverance rover is well known to lovers of astronomy and the conquest of space, in recent months it has not been the only trace of human presence on our red neighbor. The Zurhong rover, from the Chinese space agency (CNSA) also successfully reached Martian soil last May.
While the Middle Kingdom agency decided to “pause” his rover after a few months of exploration, he took advantage of his last days of activity to take a magnificent shot of the red planet.
Zurhong’s main mission is to find liquid water or ice on Mars. Just that. For China, this discovery would be magnificent proof, if one more was needed, of the maturity of their space program. The engineers and scientists in charge of studying the data are currently focusing on rather astonishing “hollows” found on the surface of Mars which could be evidence of past erosion, or even present. If the presence of life on Mars is highly unlikely, liquid water or ice may well exist beneath the dusty surface of our red neighbor.
Why is Zurhong on hiatus?
The pause of the rover has been planned for months, it will be the same for Perseverance and NASA. The reason ? Solar particles will break communications between Earth and Mars and in order not to lose the robot in a connection failure, engineers from Beijing and Houston have planned to switch their rovers to “security” mode, resuming contact with them. late, once the cloud of particles has made its way towards the gaseous planets of our solar system. These sleeping missions are always great stressful moments for the teams working on the rover. The big question remains the state in which the robot will be in almost 2 months. Hoping that no Martian storm will damage it by then.