Mars may have had liquid water for longer than thought

Water appears to have existed on Mars for a longer period of time than previously thought. The conclusion comes from an analysis by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Copenhagen, who worked with data from the Zhurong rover to find out what they said about ice in hydrated minerals.

The rover Zhurong has been exploring Utopia Planitia for about a year, and has been using its spectrometers to analyze rocks and a camera to photograph them. For the study, the researchers analyzed data collected by the rover’s instruments to study minerals on Mars and thus determine how much water could have existed there millions of years ago.

By analyzing data and rocks from minerals on the surface of Mars, scientists have found evidence of liquid water on the planet longer than previously thought.

They found rigid layers close to the ground, the formation of which would have required large amounts of water from different sources, such as the planet’s subsurface or the melting of vast amounts of ice. Thus, they suggest that the presence of hydrated minerals on the surface of the Red Planet means that water has existed on Mars for longer than previously thought.

Previous studies suggested that parts of the planet were covered by water until about 3 billion years ago. But evidence found on Utopia Planitia shows that water existed in a liquid state during the Amazonian period, the most recent geological epoch on the planet. Until then, scientists considered this period, which occurred about 700 million years ago, to be cold and dry, so any “activity” involving liquid water there would be extremely limited.

A member of the Chinese Tianwen-1 mission, the rover Zhurong landed on Mars early last year and has traveled more than 1.5 km on the Martian surface. Among the mission’s main objectives is the search for signs of water, ice and life on the planet.

The article with the results of the study was published in the journal Science Advances.

Source: Science Advances

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About Raju Singh

Raju has an exquisite taste. For him, video games are more than entertainment and he likes to discuss forms and art.

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