Friday, June 2, 2023

Zhurong’s new discovery: Mars once had an ocean

New research published Thursday in the academic journal National Science Review says new evidence based on data collected by China’s Zhurong rover proves Mars had an ancient ocean.

Led by Professor Xiao Long from the School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), the researchers conducted a comprehensive analysis of scientific data obtained by cameras mounted on the Zhurong rover.

The rover, which is slated to launch in 2021, landed on the southern edge of Utopia Planitia, a vast plain on the northern hemisphere of Mars.

Providing an opportunity to verify the existence of ancient marine sediments, according to the research, the location is within the Vastitas Borealis Formation (VBF), a low-lying sedimentary unit, “whose outer contact is interpreted as a shoreline.” Matches the features listed.

Although previous research has drawn evidence for the presence of an ocean in the northern lowlands of Mars, the VBF’s lack of in-situ data has made this controversial.

Thanks to Zhurong, the researchers performed the first in-situ analysis of VBF.

In its journey of roughly 1,921 metres, the Zhurong rover had traveled south towards the proposed shoreline since landing, discovering VBF surface exposure along the way.

It deployed different imaging and analysis systems to conduct in-situ observations of outcrops and surface rocks. Of those, the navigation and terrain cameras obtained 106 sets of panoramic images, recording in detail the sedimentary structures of the surface and the rock features surrounding the route.

By looking at the images sent back by the rover-borne cameras, the researchers found that the exposed rocks developed bedding features that are quite different from volcanic rocks typically found on the Martian surface or typical aeolian deposits, but that are similar to those are similar to those found on the surface of Mars. Terrestrial low energy shallow marine environment.

Sedimentary structures and features in the surface rocks suggest that the VBF was “accumulated in a marine environment,” providing direct support for the existence of an ancient ocean on Mars, the researchers said. One occurred during the retrograde period of the Hesperian Ocean.

The discovery offers new implications for reshaping the history of Mars. “Future in-depth exploration and sampling of the region by Zhurong will deepen our understanding of Mars’ habitability and preservation of traces of life,” Xiao said.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here