China finally breaks silence over ‘dormant’ Mars rover

Nearly a year has passed since China’s Zhurong Mars rover fell silent, taking shelter to endure the challenging Martian winter.

Originally scheduled to awaken in December, the rover remained unresponsive. However, after months of silence, China has finally released an official update regarding the status of the Zhurong rover, Yahoo News reported.

Zhang Rongqiao, the chief designer of China’s Mars exploration program, revealed, “We have not received any communication from the rover since it entered its hibernation period.”

According to a report from Reuters, Chinese television broadcasts suggest that an unseen accumulation of dust could potentially be obstructing sunlight from reaching the rover.

According to the latest update, Chinese authorities suspect that the Zhurong rover remains dormant and unable to establish communication with Earth due to insufficient sunlight exposure, resulting in inadequate power generation.

This predicament is a recurring challenge faced by spacecraft reliant on solar power while operating on Mars.

Notably, NASA’s Insight Lander encountered comparable difficulties and ceased operations last year for the same reason.

Written by staff