China’s first Mars rover, launched at the end of July 2020, has already encountered difficulties just one week after landing on the red planet.
The rover, named Zhurong, is part of China’s Tianwen-1 mission, and it touched down on Mars Utopia Planitia region on May 15.
The rover is equipped with six scientific instruments, which it uses to conduct research and collect data on the Martian surface. However, the rover’s mission has faced some issues since it landed.
The problems began almost immediately after Zhurong touched down. The rover’s solar panel, which is used to power the rover, was unable to open properly.
This was most likely due to the dusty surface of Mars, which caused the panel to become stuck. The Chinese space agency was able to overcome this issue by using the rover’s robotic arm to manually open the panel.
Another issue that Zhurong has encountered is the extreme temperatures on the Martian surface. Mars’ atmosphere is very thin, meaning that the planet’s surface can become incredibly hot during the day, and incredibly cold during the night.
This has posed a challenge for the rover, as its internal systems are not designed to handle such drastic temperature changes. The Chinese space agency has attempted to mitigate this issue by adjusting the rover’s power levels to conserve energy.
Lastly, Zhurong has encountered difficulties due to the arid nature of Mars. The planet’s surface is covered in dust, which can clog the rover’s sensors and affect their performance. The dust can also interfere with the rover’s solar panel, reducing its ability to generate power.
Despite these issues, Chinese scientists are optimistic that Zhurong will be able to complete its mission. The rover is equipped with a variety of sensors and instruments, which will be used to analyze the Martian surface and gather data.
This data will then be used to gain a better understanding of Mars, and possibly pave the way for future manned missions to the planet.
Overall, Zhurong’s mission has been a success thus far, despite the difficulties it has encountered. The Chinese space agency is hopeful that the rover will be able to complete its mission, and continue to expand our knowledge of the red planet.