Findings of Zhurong Rover on Mars

Findings of Zhurong Rover on Mars

News: China’s Zhurong rover that landed on Mars in 2021 has found evidence of major floods that took place billions of years ago by studying underground layers.

Key Findings:
• The rover studied its landing site Utopia Planitia which are vast plains in Mars’s northern hemisphere.
• These are the rover’s first results of the radar imager. Radio waves from the radar bounce off underground materials to reveal their grain size and ability to hold an electric charge. Stronger signals typically indicate larger objects.
• The radar did not find any evidence of liquid water down to 80 metres, but it did detect two horizontal layers with interesting patterns. In a layer between 10 and 30 metres deep, the reflection signals strengthened with increasing depth. An older, thicker layer between 30 and 80 metres down showed a similar pattern.
• The older layers (30 and 80 metres) are probably the result of rapid flooding that carried sediments to the region more than three billion years ago, when there was a lot of water activity on Mars.
• The upper layer (between 10 and 30 metres deep) could have been created by another flood some 1.6 billion years ago, when there was lots of glacial activity.
• Radar data is not enough to discern if the underground materials were sediments or volcanic remnants.

What is Zhurong Rover?
• Zhurong named after a Chinese mythical fire god, is China's first Mars rover carried by China's Tianwen-1 spacecraft in 2021.
• It is powered by retractable solar panels and fitted with seven primary instruments like cameras, ground-penetrating radar, a magnetic field detector and a weather station.
• The purpose of the radar is to look for signs of ancient life as well as subsurface water.

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