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Chinese rover detects water existed on Mars more recently than thought

Written by  Thursday, 12 May 2022 12:54
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Washington DC (UPI) May 11, 2021
Nearly one year after landing on Mars, scientists say China's Zhurong rover collected data indicating water may have existed on the planet over a longer period of time than previously thought. A study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances said Zhurong detected evidence that the Utopia Planitia basin had "substantial" liquid water during its most recent epoch of geologic hi

Nearly one year after landing on Mars, scientists say China's Zhurong rover collected data indicating water may have existed on the planet over a longer period of time than previously thought.

A study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances said Zhurong detected evidence that the Utopia Planitia basin had "substantial" liquid water during its most recent epoch of geologic history -- the Amazonian. Scientists previously believed this time period, about 700 million years ago, to be cold and dry and liquid water activities to be "extremely limited."

Before assessing the new data, scientists believed that Mars lost much of its water after its Hesperian period, about 3 billion years ago.

The Zhurong rover touched down on Mars' surface May 15 as part of the Tianwen-1 mission. The main point of the mission was to search for signs of life, ice and water.

Scientists from China's National Space Science Center and the Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed data gathered from a laser-induced breakdown spectrometer, telescopic microimaging camera and short-wave infrared spectrometer to study minerals to determine the amount of liquid water that would have been at the site millions of years ago.

Research Report:Zhurong reveals recent aqueous activities in Utopia Planitia, Mars

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