Hey Chinese Rover…Need a Tow?

NASA recently captured images of China’s Zhurong Rover on Mars. On March 11th, 2022, the rover was still in an active state. But by September 8th, 2022, the rover had entered a hibernation mode. The most recent image was taken on February 7th, 2023.

The rover had been in hibernation for almost a year, but it had not woken up yet. It was still resting near a crater, and had not moved since then. Scientists speculated that the winter season and dust on the solar panels could be the cause of the rover’s inactivity.

NASA had launched the Zhurong Rover in July 2020, and it had cost China $100 million. It was the first Chinese rover to land on Mars, and it had been sent to explore the Martian surface.

The rover had been equipped with a variety of instruments, including a ground-penetrating radar, a meteorological station, and a camera. It was also equipped with a robotic arm to collect samples from the Martian surface.

chinese rover stuck on mars2
China’s Zhurong images its own parachute from a distance of 30 meters, July 12, 2021. Credit: CNSA/PEC

The rover had been making progress until it entered hibernation. Scientists were concerned that the rover might not wake up, and that all the data it had collected would be lost.

NASA had been monitoring the rover closely, and they had been trying to figure out why it had not woken up yet. They had been sending commands to the rover, but it had not responded.

The rover’s inactivity had been a mystery for months, and scientists were eager to find out what had happened. They were hoping that the rover would wake up soon, and that it would be able to continue its mission on Mars.

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