Usable water could be found on Mars

One of the crucial problems that humanity must solve before landing on Mars is that it must find usable water on the arid and reddish planet that explorers can consume.

A recent discovery by Chinese scientists based on data obtained by China’s Zhurong Mars rover may have brought that goal closer to reality.

According to a group of researchers from the National Center for Space Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, after analyzing the short-wave infrared spectral data obtained by the rover, they identified hydrated sulfate/silica materials in the Amazon terrain on the Zhurong landing site in the southern part. of an impact basin called Utopia Planitia.

“These hydrated minerals are associated with light-toned rocks and are interpreted to be locally grown duricrust. The lithified duricrusts suggest that the formation of substantial liquid water is either from rising groundwater or melting subterranean ice. “In situ evidence of aqueous activities identified at Zhurong Landing points to a more active Amazon hydrosphere for Mars than previously thought,” reads a paper by the scientists and published Wednesday in the journal’s latest issue. scientific Science Advances.

Liu Yang, a scientist at the National Space Science Center’s State Key Laboratory of Space Weather and lead author of the paper, said their findings indicate that liquid water activities may have been more active than previously thought. the Amazon era, which began around 3 billion years ago and is still ongoing.

“There is probably a large amount of usable water in the hydrous minerals around the Zhurong landing site as well as in the vast areas of the northern lowlands of Mars. This resource can be used in manned explorations on Mars at the future,” said the researcher. mentioned.

Zhurong is the core component of Tianwen 1, the country’s first interplanetary mission, and is also the sixth rover to the Red Planet, after five from the United States. It is responsible for studying the landforms, geological structures, ground features, potential locations of water and ice, atmospheric and environmental features of Mars, as well as magnetic, gravitational and other fields.

As of Thursday, Zhurong, 1.85 meters tall and weighing 240 kilograms, has been working on Mars for nearly a year, far exceeding his life expectancy of three months. The rover traveled nearly 2,000 meters and obtained a large amount of data, mission controllers from China’s National Space Administration said, adding that it still had enough energy and was in good condition.

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