China’s Zhurong Rover Discovers Something Unexpected Regarding Water on Mars

China’s Zhurong Rover Discovers Something Unexpected Regarding Water on Mars
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The presence of water on a planet could also mean the signature of life. That’s one of the reasons why astronomers are especially focused on studying Mars. The Red Planet is known today to have water in the form of ice and vapor, but scientists believe that the planet was teeming with liquid water until 3 billion years ago.

Thanks to the exploration of a Chinese Zhurong rover that began its journey on Mars in 2021, it was found that liquid water existed on our neighboring planet much more recently than 3 billion years ago, as astronomers thought, according to bigthink.com.

Liquid water existed on Mars 700 million years ago

The evidence that the Chinese rover gathered indicates that water existed on Mars in liquid form only 700 million years ago, which is obviously a lot more recently than the initial claim. Data on soil samples collected by the rover during the first 92 Martian days spent on the planet were analyzed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Copenhagen. Thus, they found some evidence for the existence of water samples.

Yang Liu from the CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences) explained for CNN:

One of the most important resources for human explorers is water,

Hydrated minerals, which contain structural water, and ground ice can be used as the important water resource on Mars.

However, the mystery might just begin. Here’s what Eva Scheller from CalTech said for space.com:

One of the major things we’ll have to find out and that I look forward to seeing from the Zhurong rover is how extensive these ‘young’ water-bearing minerals are,

Are they common or uncommon in these ‘young’ rocks?

It was pretty much expected for water to have existed on Mars at some time if you ask us. The Red Planet is located in the “Goldilocks Zone” of our solar system, where it’s neither too hot nor too cold for water to form.

 


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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