Mars rover Zhuzhong received the first scientific data on the structure of the bowels of Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — Chinese planetary scientists received the first data on the structure of the interior of Mars in the landing zone of the Zhuzhong rover, and also found traces of water and chemical erosion of local soils and stones located on the Utopia plain. The scientists’ findings were published in an article in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“The first sixty days of exploring Mars brought a lot of new discoveries. In particular, images of the surface of nearby rocks and rocks taken by the Zhuzhong cameras indicate that they were subject to wind and water erosion. Their study will help us unravel the geological and water history of Mars “, the researchers wrote.

The Zhuzhong rover is the centerpiece of China’s Tianwen-1 Martian mission, which was sent to the fourth planet in the solar system in July 2020. Last February, the rover reached the orbit of Mars, and in May it made a successful landing on the Utopia Plain.

After the rover landed and the first images of the terrain were taken, the mission’s science team, led by Liu Jianjun, professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, concentrated their efforts on studying the structure of the interior of Mars at the point in the plain where the Zhurong was originally located after landing.

Geological evolution of Mars

In the first two months of operation, the Chinese rover transmitted to earth over 800 megabytes of information on the structure of the upper layers of the soil and interior of Mars, as well as other scientific data collected by the rover’s six scientific instruments.

Professor Liu Jianjun and his colleagues analyzed this data, which helped them uncover some features of the interior of the northern hemisphere of Mars, which in the past was almost not studied by scientists.

In particular, scientists found that the surface of the Utopia Plain was covered with a relatively dense layer of soil, and at the same time there were relatively few large cobblestones and sand dunes on it. This will simplify the further movement of “Zhuzhong” on its territory, as well as the search and analysis of soil samples that are potentially interesting for study.

In addition, the cameras and scientific instruments of the Chinese rover recorded a large number of small stones and sedimentary rock deposits that form on Earth in the presence of water. Their study will allow scientists for the first time to investigate in detail how the geological and chemical evolution of the northern hemisphere of Mars proceeded.

In the near future, as noted by Professor Liu Jianjun and his colleagues, the rover will begin to study these features of the relief of the Utopia plain, and will also begin to move towards its neighboring small craters with a diameter of up to ten meters, whose walls were exposed to wind and water for a very long time. time.

Their analysis will help scientists understand how quickly craters disappear from the surface of Mars, which is essential for determining their age, the researchers concluded.

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