The primary mission life of China’s Zhurong Mars rover comes to an end this weekend, although the vehicle could operate well beyond that.
Zhurong was designed with a life-expectancy of three months. Its primary mission was searching for signs of water-ice, monitoring weather, and studying surface composition.
The Tianwen-1 orbiter, which provides the mission's telecom link, is now scheduled to alter its orbit to begin remote sensing of the surface and assessing the Mars atmosphere. Its mission life-expectancy is at least a year.
Beijing Mission Control reports both the rover and orbiter are in good condition and functioning well.
China's Yutu-2 rover on the far side of the Moon had a similar three-month life-expectancy. It has been operating for more than two and a half years, though it has travelled a shorter distance than Zhurong. Meanwhile, some 400 million kilometers closer to home, China is preparing the next mission to its space station.
After the current three-month crewed mission ends in September, a cargo vessel will be launched to provision the space station for a six-month crewed mission scheduled for launch in October.