A remote-controlled robot on Mars no longer shows any signs of life

The “Zhurong” remote-controlled robot, exploring on Mars, no longer responds.

The Chinese remote-controlled robot “Zhurong” has been exploring since May 2021 on Mars. At the time, China was the first country to successfully orbit, land and deploy the ground vehicle on its first-ever mission to Mars. But for a month, the robot has been causing some problems…

No more signs of life

It’s been a month since “Zhurong” gave any sign of life. After strong sandstorms, many fear that “Zhurong” did not survive them, and his salary sensors were clogged. “It wouldn’t be surprising if the rover didn’t come out of sleep mode. It runs on solar power and there’s a long history of solar-powered landers and rovers on Mars that ended up without energy,” David Flannery, of the Queensland University of Technology, and member of the American team behind the Perseverance robot, told the journal “Nature”. Other experts remain more optimistic and hope that temperatures will rise, allowing Zhurong’s sensors to store enough energy.

Already a success

China’s space agency has yet to comment on the robot’s situation, but state media has refuted reports of “exaggerated” issues with the device. They say the negative coverage is politically motivated and a way to “undermine” the progress of China’s space program. On the other hand, the fact that the Chinese space program has not yet manifested itself is “curious”, reacted on condition of anonymity a member of the “Zhurong” team. However, the Chinese mission is already considered a success, because all the projects have been implemented. It also found old traces showing the presence of water, and ran three months longer than expected. China is the third country after the United States and the former Soviet Union to land a spacecraft on Mars. Only the Americans had previously circulated a vehicle on the ground of the red planet.

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