Chinese Mars Rover Reaches The End Of Its Mission, Keeps On Going

It’s a lil rovers’ rave on Mars right now!

Many people are familiar with NASA’s rovers; Curiosity and Perseverance exploring the red planet but now’s the time to give China’s Zhurong the much-needed spotlight. The Chinese rover landed on Mars in May on a three-month mission to explore the plains region, Utopia Planitia by collecting and photographing different samples. By sending Zhurong to Mars, it qualified China as the second country to send a rover to the planet, after the USA. The Chinese rover is part China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) Tianwen-1 mission which includes a lander and an orbiter as well.

The CNSA announced earlier this week that Zhurong had covered about 3000 feet or 900 meters since landing on Mars and had outlived its life expectancy by completing all the tasks it was assigned to do (Who’s a good rover? Zhurong is!) Now seems like it would take on another journey towards the ancient coastal area only after taking a much-needed break. After all, the hardworking solar-powered rover deserves it! As the sun comes in between Earth and Mars, it results in some communication issues so the break is scheduled between mid-September to late October and after that the rover would be back on duty.

It seems like we’ve come a long way from imagining what it would be like to send a rover to study the land and structures of Mars, to having three different rovers investigating different parts of the planet and documenting their very own journeys. A few years back, we would have never imagined that we’d be greeted by selfies from rovers on their journey to Mars or see a rover capture a breathtaking panoramic view of its new home on the red planet. But this is just the beginning and who knows, maybe we’d get to see the three rovers interact with each other in the future!

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