Photo released on June 11, 2021 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) shows a selfie of China’s first Mars rover Zhurong with the landing platform. (CNSA/Handout via Xinhua)
BEIJING, May 2 (Xinhua) — The Mars rover Zhurong has traveled more than 1.9 km since it first set its wheels on the surface of the planet in May last year, according to the latest data released by the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.
As of Sunday, Zhurong had been operating on the surface of Mars for 342 Martian days at a distance of 240 million km from Earth. A Martian day is approximately 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth.
Zhurong touched down on the Utopia Planitia, a vast plain in the northern hemisphere of Mars, on May 15, 2021. Since then, it has collected surface rock samples and captured images while exploring the planet.
Mars is about to enter the winter season, during which night temperatures will drop below minus 100 degrees Celsius, with a high probability of sandstorms. Martian winters last an equivalent of six Earth months.
Scientists have made special designs on the Zhurong rover, including low temperature resistance, sand resistance, power security and other features, to ensure the safe conduct of the Mars patrol and exploration process.
The Chinese space administration also disclosed that lunar rover Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, has been working for 42 lunar days and moved 1,181 meters on the moon surface.
China’s Chang’e-4 probe, including a lander and Yutu-2 launched on Dec. 8, 2018, made the first-ever soft landing on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan. 3, 2019. ■