Chinese rover discovers traces of ancient flood on Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — Chinese scientists have published a new radar image from the Zhurong rover (“Zhuzhong”), which shows unusual deposits, indicating that a flood occurred on the planet millions of years ago.

The scientific journal Nature has published an image and results of the study that provide new insight into the surface structure of the Utopia Plain, the largest basin on Mars and in the solar system, with a diameter of about 3,300 kilometers.

Since the mission of the American rover Viking 2 in 1975, scientists have not received any new data on the Utopia plain for 45 years.

Researcher Lin Chen and his colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences presented an image that was taken by the rover about a kilometer from its landing site.

The Zhuzhong rover discovered that the basin of the Utopia Plain is divided into several subsurface layers with a total thickness of about 70 meters.

Chinese rover discovers traces of ancient flood on Mars 2
Interpretation of low-frequency radar data from the Zhurong rover, which show the subsurface layers on Mars

Research also suggests that the layered structure may indicate that the basin experienced episodic flooding during the Hesperian to early Amazonian period (3.5–3.2 billion years).

On the surface of the pool lies a layer of regolith, a layer of loose rock and dust less than 10 meters thick.

Chinese rover discovers traces of ancient flood on Mars 3
Topographic map showing Zhurong’s landing site

The new image provides more information about an ancient ocean on Mars that is thought to have dissolved into the planet’s rocks and crust over the years.

The Zhuzhong rover , a solar-powered rover tasked with collecting information about Mars’ climate conditions and magnetic fields, successfully landed in 2021 as part of China’s first mission to the Red Planet.


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