CHINA / SOCIETY
Trekking 100 days on Mars, Zhurong drives further south with efficiency
Published: Aug 30, 2021 01:31 PM
Photo:CNSA

Photo:CNSA


 

Zhurong, rover of China’s first interplanetary probe mission Tianwen-1, has worked on Mars surface for 100 days as of Monday, and has driven 1,064 meters south from its landing point, the Global Times learned from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Monday. 

Named after an ancient god of fire from Chinese mythology, the 1.85-meter-tall and 240-kilogram Zhurong Mars is in good shape with sufficient power and it will keep its effective momentum to travel further south to a shoreline of an ancient “ocean” to obtain scientific data, the CNSA said in a statement it provided to the Global Times. 

Some 392 million kilometers away from Earth, orbiter of Tianwen-1 has circled the Red Planet for 403 days, the CNSA said, adding that a high-definition camera onboard the craft has taken a picture of Zhurong’s landing area in which the travelling track of the rover could be clearly seen. 

By mid-to-late September, Earth and Mars will be on opposite sides of the sun, and the three could be almost in a straight line. The probe will enter the solar transit phase.

Photo:CNSA

Photo:CNSA


During the transit, the ground-space communication will be cut off due to electromagnetic radiation interference, forcing the orbiter and rover into a safety mode and halt their probe work. And when the phase comes to an end, the orbiter will enter the remote sensing mission orbit at a suitable timing to carry out global remote sensing exploration of Mars, and also relay communication of the Mars rover expansion mission stage, according to the CNSA.

Photo:CNSA

Photo:CNSA

On Monday, to celebrate the success of the country’s first Mars probe mission which accomplished landing, orbiting and roving all in one go, the first time in human history, the CNSA and The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) jointly released three commemorative coins in gold and silver. 

The new series of Tianwen-1 coins have two types in gold weighing 250 grams and 8 grams and one in silver weighing 30 grams. The back of the coins shows the logo of China’s deep space exploration programs while the key stage of landing, orbiting and roving during the Tianwen-1 mission and Zhurong rover, as well as the Tianwen-1 probe complex are seen on the fronts. 

It is the seventh edition of space-themed commemorative coins. The previous ones include those on the first manned space mission, first successful lunar probe and first spacewalk. 
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