China “turns off” its Zhurong rover due to a severe storm on Mars

The Chinese space agency put  Zhurong, its Mars rover, into sleep mode .


China’s Zhurong rover on Mars has gone into sleep mode as it awaits a dust storm on the planet’s surface, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.

The latest images taken by cameras aboard China ‘s Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter show a dust storm passing over the Zhurong patrol area.

Scientists compared them to photos taken in the past two months and analyzed recent energy data from the rover’s solar wings, which indicated that Zhurong is now facing an intense Martian dust storm.

Winter season

According to the CNSA, the Zhurong patrol area has entered the winter season, during which daytime temperatures can drop below minus 20 degrees Celsius, while night temperatures drop below minus 100 degrees Celsius. In mid-July, temperatures will drop even further.

To cope with dust storms and the challenges of low temperatures, the Chinese rover went into a dormant state on Wednesday. It is expected to wake up and resume work in December when the dust clears and Mars enters its spring season, CNSA said, quoted by Xinhua.

Scientists will continue to use the Tianwen-1 orbiter to monitor the weather in the southern hemisphere of Mars.(EuropePress)