October 23, 2021

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China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission is going offline for a while

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China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission — both the orbiter and Zhurong rover — will suspend operations for about 50 days starting in mid-September.

“During that time, the Earth, Mars and the sun will almost be in a straight line and the distance between Earth and Mars will be farthest,” Zhang Rongqiao of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) told the People’s Daily, a newspaper published by the Chinese Communist Party. “The sun’s electromagnetic radiation will greatly affect the communication between the rover, the orbiter and ground control.”

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