At Mars, China’s Tianwen 1 orbiter and Zhurong rover are back in action after a radio blackout

A panoramic image taken by Zhurong released on announcement of the end of the solar conjunction period. (Image credit: CNSA/PEC)

China’s Tianwen 1 orbiter and Zhurong rover are once again active at Mars following a communications blackout caused by the sun interfering with radio signals sent from Earth.

Tianwen 1 and Zhurong had been in standby mode for about a month, since mid-September. With the Earth and Mars orbiting at opposite sides of the sun and all three bodies almost perfectly aligned, communications with the Red Planet were effectively blocked by interference from our star’s charged particles.