Science & Technology

Chinese scientists discover geological evidence of ancient ocean on Mars

Beijing, May 19 (EFE).- Chinese scientists have discovered marine sedimentary rocks on the surface of Mars, marking the first geological evidence of the existence of an ancient ocean in the northern plain of the Red Planet.

The observation was made based on scientific data obtained from the multispectral camera of rover Zhurong, China’s first exploration mission on Mars that landed in May 2021, state-owned Xinhua agency reported Friday.

The evidence of marine sedimentary deposits were discovered by a team of scientists, led by Professor Xiao Long, at the Chinese University of Geosciences in Wuhan, according to a research article published in the journal National Science Review.

“When we looked at the images from the rover’s on-board cameras, we found that these exposed rocks exhibited distinct layering structures, which were significantly different from the common volcanic rocks found on the Martian surface or the layering structures formed by wind-blown sand deposits,” Xiao said.

“These layering structures indicate the characteristics of bidirectional water flow, consistent with the low-energy tidal currents observed in terrestrial coastal environments on Earth,” the professor added.

This discovery is considered as the first direct in-situ evidence for the existence of an ancient ocean on Mars, which could have covered much of its northern plain around 3.5 billion years ago.

In recent years, Beijing has invested heavily in its space program, achieving successes such as the Chang’e 4 lunar probe, which landed on the far side of the Moon in January 2019, a milestone never before achieved in the history of space exploration.

China – the third country after the United States and Russia to land a rover on Mars – has plans to collect samples from the surface of the Red Planet before 2030. EFE


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