The Chinese robot jeep on Mars is probably too thickly covered by sand and dust and, therefore cannot wake up from hibernation. A Chinese scientist confirms this.
The Zhurong should reactivate itself after four months, but according to Zhang Rongqiao, the lead developer of China’s planetary exploration program, the power production is insufficient. “Based on our analysis, the most likely possibility is that an unpredictable accumulation of Martian dust has led to a decrease in its ability to produce electricity, such that it is insufficient to wake up,” he told China’s state-run CCTV.
Although the Zhurong was expected to awaken in December, there is no sign of life. The rover would automatically reactivate itself once the power level reached more than 140 Watts, and the battery’s temperature would rise above -15 degrees Celsius.
Nevertheless, the mission is already a success because all planned projects have been carried out. The rover traversed the Martian surface for nearly 2 kilometres, collecting many scientific findings, finding traces of past water deposits, and had been operating for three months longer than planned.
The Mars jeep rolled off the landing pad on the red planet on May 22, 2021.