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China’s Mars probe completes scheduled exploration missions

BEIJING, Aug. 17, 2021 (Xinhua) — China’s Mars Exploration Rover Zhu Rong has completed the scheduled exploration and observation missions, the China National Space Administration said Tuesday.

As of August 15, 2021, Zhou Rong has worked on the surface of Mars for 90 days, or about 92 days on Earth, with all science payloads starting on detection missions, the China National Space Authority said.

The rover has traveled 889 meters as of August 15, and its science payload has collected about 10 gigabytes of raw data. Now the vehicle is running stably and running in good condition with sufficient power.

The authority added that the rover will continue to move to the border area between the ancient sea and the ancient land in the southern part of the “Utopia Planetia” plain and will carry out additional tasks.

According to the authority, Chu Rong worked a seven-day cycle during exploration and monitoring operations. The vehicle’s navigational terrain camera obtained topographic data along the route, to support the vehicle’s route planning and selection of monitoring targets.

The Churong Underground Detection Radar obtained the layer structure data under the Martian surface, which provides an analysis of the shallow Martian surface structure and explores potential groundwater and potential ice.

The surface magnetic field detector obtained Mars magnetic field data and collaborated with the orbiter’s magnetometer to explore the evolution of Mars’ magnetic field.

The China National Space Administration said the data collected by seven scientific payloads on board the rover has been processed and verified, adding that the data will be released monthly.

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China’s “Tianun-1” mission, consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, was launched on July 23, 2020.

The lander, carrying the rover with a life expectancy of at least 90 Mars days or about three months on Earth, descended on the southern part of Utopia Planitia, a vast plain in the northern hemisphere of Mars, on May 15.

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