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China’s Zhurong faces intense dust storm on Mars

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The Zhurong rover on Mars has gone into sleep mode as it awaits a dust storm, the CNSA reported.

In anticipation of a dust storm sweeping across the Martian surface, China’s Zhurong rover has entered “sleep mode,” the China National Space Administration (CNSA) reported.

The China National Space Administration announced on Friday that the Mars rover Zhurong has been turned to sleep mode while waiting out a dust storm on the planet’s surface.

The most recent photographs that were captured by cameras onboard China’s Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter show a dust storm moving over the Zhurong patrol area. Scientists compared them to photographs obtained in the previous two months and studied recent power data from the rover’s solar wings, which revealed that Zhurong is currently battling a powerful Martian dust storm.

The patrol region of Zhurong, according to the administration, has entered the winter season, when daytime temperatures can drop below minus 20 degrees Celsius and nighttime temperatures can dip below minus 100 degrees Celsius. The temperatures will drop even more by mid-July.

The Chinese rover slipped into slumber on Wednesday to deal with dust storms and cold temperatures. When the dust settles and Mars enters its spring season in December, it is expected to wake up and resume work, according to the administration.

Tianwen-1 will continue monitoring Mars’ southern hemisphere weather.

Image Credit: Xinhua

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