On Monday, Chinese scientists published new findings from the Tianwen 1 Mars probe in science journal Nature. Sun Ye has more on the latest discoveries from the red planet.
The newly published findings shed new light on the make-up of the Martian Utopia Planitia surface, the stretch of land that China's home-grown Mars probe had surveyed starting last summer.
The team of scientists – who explained their work in a press briefing – have determined the absence of liquid water within 80 meters below the surface of the area, a discovery that may point to an even more mysterious red planet than previously thought.
"Previously, it was thought that Mars had kept getting drier, continuing to lose water over the last three billion years. We found that it may not be that simple: in the later time frame, there have been short-intervals of water-based activity; this also explains why our rover's coverage in the south of Utopia Planitia has found so many signs of water," said PROFESSOR CHEN LING of the Institute of Geology and Geophysics Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The team had only used Zhurong Rover's data from the first 113 Martian days and first 1100 meters it travelled.
"This is the first time for any of us to see such a layered structure for Mars underground. I don't think anyone has seen it before us, for the simple reason that this is the highest-resolution, 80-meter deep, rover-radar data anyone's ever had," said CHEN.
The Tianwen-1 probe touched down at its pre-selected landing area on May 15, 2021. And with all the data rolling in, the team says they could unlock more knowledge in the near future.
"Our next questions are: is there water in places deeper than 80 meters beneath the surface? If so, how has water affected the climate? Moreover, we can learn more about the Martian surface, the crust, the structure in between as well as their water content," said CHEN.
As of last week, the Tianwen-1 Mars probe has completed all of its tasks and has acquired almost 1,500 (1,480) gigabytes of raw scientific data. (CGTN)
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