(ORDO NEWS) — A team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, have found evidence that water was present on Mars more recently than previously thought.
In their paper, published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes an analysis of data from China’s Zhurong rover and what it told them about ice in hydrated minerals.
Previous studies have shown that part of the Martian surface was covered with water until about 3 billion years ago.
The time when the water on Mars dried up is known as the Amazon period. In a new paper, data from China’s Zhurong rover has shown researchers evidence that water on Mars may have persisted longer than previously thought.
The Zhurong rover navigated the impact crater on the surface of Mars for about one year. During this time, he used two spectrometers to analyze rocks. He also photographs rocks with a micro camera.
In addition, the rover fires a laser at them to create “micro smoke” that can be analyzed. The researchers compared the signatures they found in rocks on Mars with those on Earth and found that some of the rocks are hydrated minerals, meaning minerals that contain water.
They also found layers of hard crust, which they believe would have required large amounts of water to form, either rising from below the surface or from large amounts of melting ice.
The researchers speculate that water must have persisted on Mars longer than previously thought to explain the presence of hydrated minerals on its surface – possibly much longer.
They also suggest that the existence of such rocks on the surface indicates the possibility of ground ice. If so, then future astronauts will be able to use it for a variety of purposes.
The results confirm data from other studies that suggest that not only was there water on the surface of Mars recently, but it also flowed, creating sculptural rock forms.
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