The Chinese rover Zhurong has been on the surface of Mars for about 10 months. During this time, he managed to travel a long distance of up to 1.5 km. If in doubt, the orbiting probe on Mars has documented exactly this flight
Zhurong is the first and very successful, from the point of view of the mission assumptions, which, 3 months ago, mentioned a Chinese spacecraft mission to Mars. Zurong is larger than NASA’s rover since 2004, but it’s smaller than persevering. It is powered by solar energy, a major factor in the mission’s duration.
If the rover does not hit terrain unsuitable for its wheels and no component of it breaks, only a dust storm will contaminate the photovoltaic panels that may prevent the mission from being carried out for the coming months.
The path of the Zhurong rover imaged from Mars orbit
China, as usual, does not speak excessively of the research of their rover, but there is certainly something going on in the south of the Plain of Utopia Planitia. Images acquired by the MRO probe’s HiRISE camera, on March 11, 2022, from a distance of 288 kilometers show the entire path covered by the craft so far. This is thanks to the clear traces that they leave on the land of Mars with its wheels.
After leaving the Tianwen-1 lander, Zhurong sped towards the parachute and shields thrown before it reached the surface of Mars. After that, he moved south for a while, and then finally turned a little east, and continued his journey.
The footprints in the photo indicate the avoidance of obstacles on the surface, as well as short visits to the more interesting rocks. Despite being smaller than the tenacity (240 kg instead of 1025 kg), with the solar panels visible, the Zhuron in orbit covers a slightly larger area of the field of view of the HiRISE camera, which is why it was very easy to detect. One pixel in the raw image corresponds to less than 30 cm in reality.
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