The Chinese rover Chzhuzhong sent a panorama of the Martian surface before going into safe mode for a month and turning off the main power, writes Space.com.
The six-wheeled 240-kilogram solar-powered rover has been traveling in the Utopia Valley for a hundred days and has covered 1,064 meters of the way during this time. Its successful landing took place on May 22, following the arrival of the first Chinese station, Tianwen-1, into Martian orbit, which began operations in February 2021. However, from mid-September to the end of October, the rover and orbital station will be forced to go into safe mode, as charged particles from the Sun interfere with their communications with the Earth. At the same time, the American rovers Curiosity and Perseverance will also switch to autonomous mode.
In preparation for this break, it was decided to stop the all-terrain vehicle and take a good look around with a panoramic camera. In the foreground of this panorama are the rover's solar panels and communications. A number of small details can be seen on the horizon, including the landing platform just above the Chzhuzhun antenna. From the moment of landing, "Chzhuzhong" moved south from this place, studying various rocks, dunes and other objects.
China's next Martian expedition is designated as a mission to return samples of Martian soil to earth, its launch is scheduled for 2028 or 2030. China is looking for other ways to expand its space exploration capabilities, including through flying vehicles similar to NASA's Ingenuity helicopter.