Chinese Rover Discovers More Evidence for Water on Mars

According to a new paper, the number of hydrated minerals found by Zhurong’s two spectrometers could have only come from water being present for a long time.

IMAGE: The Zhurong rover looking back at the lander. A view of landing area, the wheel tracks, and a small sand dune. CREDIT: China National Space Administration

It seems like every year or so, one team or another announces more evidence about water on Mars. This time it’s the Chinese, with their Zhurong rover. They now think that Mars had water far later than currently believed.

Mars once had lots of water, but at some point, about three billion years ago, it all dried up. The current period — the dry period — is called the Amazonian Epoch.

The new discovery is essentially some hydrated minerals — minerals that could have only been made in the presence of water. The team also found a material called duricrust, made in the presence of large amounts of water. According to the paper published in Science Advances, the number of hydrated minerals found by the rover’s two spectrometers could have only come from water being present for a long time.

More Information

Chinese rover finds evidence that water was present on Mars more recently than thought (Phys.org)

Zhurong reveals recent aqueous activities in Utopia Planitia, Mars,” Yang Liu et al., 2022 May 11, Science Advances

This story was written for the Daily Space podcast/YouTube series. Want more news from myself, Dr. Pamela Gay, and Erik Madaus? Check out DailySpace.org.

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