In a major development, China National Space Administration (CNSA) said that the rover and orbitor of the country’s mars mission Tianwen-1 have completed their scientific research. As per reports, the orbitor acquired medium-resolution image data after operating on the red planet for 706 days and circling it more than 1,344 times.
Notably, the Tianwen-1 Mars mission comprises of lander, an orbiter and a rover which has been named Zhurong. It reached Mars on May 15, 2021. It was the first time that China landed the probe on Mars. While it started patrolling the planet in May 2021, it completed its 90-day mission on August 15, 2021. However, it continued with further exploration.
Till May 18, 2022, the rover travelled 1,921.5 metres on the planet, before being switched to dormant mode because of cold winter and dusty weather on Mars. It will soon resume its operations in December 2022, after conditions improve.
After two years of flight and exploration, the rover and orbitor in total have collected more than 1,040 GB of raw scientific data. Reports suggest that after the final data is received, the same will be turned into standard scientific data products. After this, it will soon be provided by scientists for further research.
China has made it clear that the available data will be available to scientists across the globe. It added that the country welcomes scientists worldwide to apply for related research. It added that they can jointly work towards exploration of the universe.
CNSA has also said that it has shared the data with US’ space agency NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). The agency also said that it cooperated with both agencies in collision forecasting. Also, Zhurong and ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft have jointly performed an in-orbit relay communication test.