The Chinese rover Zhurong has captured a remarkable panorama of its surroundings at Utopia Planitia to mark its 100 days of activity on the Red Planet. Meanwhile, preparations continue so that the rover can spend more than a month in safe mode this fall.
Since landing on May 14 and deploying to the surface of Mars a week later, China’s Zhurong rover has moved south from its landing pad, analyzing various rocks, dunes and more as it goes. its progress. Today, the little rover has just sent a new image: a breathtaking panorama of its surroundings. The panorama image above has been resized, the full panorama can be found here.
Zhurong transmits last image before going to sleep for fall
Launched in July 2020, Zhurong is the very first Chinese Martian rover belonging to the Tianwen-1 mission to Mars. It landed on May 14, 2021, making China the second country to successfully land on Mars. At the time, the latter had sent us incredible first photos, with a zone without relief: the plain of Utopia Planita, located in the northern hemisphere of the red planet.
After a second burst of breathtaking images and astonishing sound files, the little Chinese rover is now preparing to take a break for the fall. The six-wheeled, solar-powered rover has already traveled about 1,064 meters since arriving. But of mid-September to the end of October, the rover and its orbiting companion, Tianwen-1, will enter safe mode.
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In preparation for this long autumn break, Zhurong stopped to capture this image, thanks to its panoramic camera. The image reveals the rover, its solar panels and its antenna near a dune that the mission scientists very much want Zhurong to analyze.
One of the main goals of CNSA scientists is to use the Zhurong geo-radar to determine the thickness and distribution of Martian soil near certain landforms, believed to have been created by the presence of water. underground or ice.