China pauses its Mars mission for 50 days due to solar electromagnetic radiation

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Beijing, Aug 31 (EFE) .- The Chinese probe Tianwen-1 will remain deactivated for about 50 days from mid-September due to the effect of solar electromagnetic radiation, local media reported today.

During this period, the Earth and Mars will be at the maximum distance and aligned with the Sun in between, so the solar electromagnetic radiation “will affect communications,” Zhang Rongqiao, Tianwen’s chief designer, told the media yesterday.

Such radiation will make communications difficult between the components of the mission, made up of an orbiter, a landing module and a rover called Zhurong, and control from Earth.

The mission had already predicted the effect of radiation on those dates.

When the mission can resume operations in mid-November, the Zhurong will head towards Utopia Planitia, the largest crater in the Solar System caused by a meteorite impact, measuring more than 3,500 kilometers in diameter.

The Zhurong has already been on Martian soil for 100 days, and so far it has traveled just over a kilometer since its arrival and collected 10 gigabytes of data, according to sources from the space mission.

The orbiter has an estimated life time of one Martian year or 687 Earth days.

Tianwen-1 is China’s first exploration mission to Mars and aims to find more evidence of the existence of water or ice on that planet, as well as to carry out research on the material composition of its surface or the characteristics of the climate.

(c) EFE Agency

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