The Chinese probe Tianwen-1 has found evidence of liquid water on Mars. This means that the Red Planet, which is smaller and colder than Earth, would have been covered in many oceans billions of years ago. This discovery sheds new light on Mars and raises more questions about the possibilities for life to develop on this planet.
Tianwen-1 is the first independent Mars mission led by the Chinese National Space Agency, as part of which in July 2020, a probe, lander and Rover Zurong. Data collected during the Tianwen-1 mission allowed scientists to find evidence that the Great Impact Basin on Mars contained liquid water in what is called the Amazon era. It is the most recent geological epoch of Mars that began about 3 billion years ago and continues today. The experts presented the results of their analyzes in a scientific journal science progress.
Water on Mars
During the Amazon era, Mars was cold and dry, and its surface had far fewer meteorites and asteroids than other epochs. Data collected by the Gu Rong spacecraft on the sedimentary and mineral characteristics of the largest impact basin ever recorded in the northern lowlands of Mars, located in the Plain Utopia Planitia, revealed the presence of shiny hard rocks on the planet’s surface likely dating back to this period.
Experts believe that the rocks were formed by the activity of liquid water. It likely floated to the surface of the groundwater or caused the ice underneath to melt. The current prevailing conditions on Mars, including low pressure and low temperature, makes it impossible for liquid water to exist on the planet’s surface. Therefore, finding a site with large amounts of water in the form of hydrated minerals and possibly ground ice offers many opportunities to use these resources in future manned missions to Mars.
As mentioned by the site Interesting geometryAccording to Space.com, the Chinese rover Zhurong has so far taken pictures and pans spanning nearly 1,537 meters and examined many of the planet’s geological features. He still has a lot of work and activities that will help him to better understand the peculiarities of the Red Planet.
See also: Water on “Second Earth” K2-18b. The first discovery of its kind in history
Karolina Modzilowska, journalist at Wirtualna Polska
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