The official media outlet of the China Lunar Exploration Project announced on Wednesday that the Tianwen-1 Mars mission orbiter had worked normally for 706 days. It has also acquired medium-resolution image data covering the whole of Mars, and all scientific payloads had realized global exploration of the planet. The Tianwen-1 mission orbiter and rover have completed their planned scientific exploration tasks.
The Tianwen-1 Mars mission was established in January 2016 and was successfully launched on July 23, 2020. After a 202-day deep space flight of 475 million kilometers, the probe completed a rendezvous with Mars on February 10, 2021, and successfully implemented capture braking to enter orbit. After a detailed investigation of the pre-selected landing area for three months, it landed successfully on May 15, 2021. On May 22 of the same year, the “Zhurong” rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars and began to explore.
On August 15, 2021, Zhurong completed a 90-Mars day scientific exploration mission, and continued to carry out expanded exploration missions, with a total of 1,921.5 meters on the surface of Mars. Affected by the severe cold and dusty weather in winter in the landing area, the rover entered the dormancy mode on May 18, 2022. Around December 2022, the landing area of Zhurong will enter the early spring season, and it will resume normal work after the environmental conditions get better.
The orbiter has circled Mars 1,344 times, achieving global coverage of the planet, and is in normal condition. In the follow-up, it will continue to carry out global remote sensing explorations, and take the opportunity to carry out extended technical tests and early technical verification.
After nearly two years of flights and explorations, the Tianwen-1 mission has obtained a total of about 1040GB of original scientific data with help of the rover and 13 scientific payloads equipped on the orbiter. After receiving and processing on the Earth, the standard scientific data products were submitted to the team of Chinese scientists for analysis every month. Relevant scientific achievements have been published in well-known academic journals. These data will be made available to scientists all over the world in the future.