The Chinese rover Zhuzhong transmitted to planetary scientists the first scientific data on the structure of the bowels in the area of landing the apparatus on the Utopia plain, and also managed to find traces of water and chemical erosion of local soils and stones. The TASS news agency writes about this , citing data published this month in the journal Nature Geoscience.
“The first sixty days of the study of Mars brought a lot of new discoveries. In particular, pictures of the surface of nearby stones and rocks taken by the Zhuzhong cameras indicate that they have been exposed to wind and water erosion. Their study will help us uncover the geological and water history of Mars ,” the researchers are sure.
Recall that the Zhuzhong apparatus is a key element of the Chinese Martian mission Tianwen-1, the implementation of which began in mid-2020. In February last year, the device reached the orbit of Mars, and a successful landing on the surface of the planet was completed in May. After receiving the first images, the mission’s science team concentrated their efforts on studying the structure of the interior of Mars at the point of the plain where the rover was after landing.
It should be noted that during the first two months of being on the Red Planet, the Zhuzhong apparatus transmitted to Earth more than 800 MB of data on the structure of the upper layers of the soil and the bowels of the planet, as well as other information, for the collection of which six scientific instruments were used in the design of the rover. The analysis of the data is led by Liu Jianjun, professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, who, together with colleagues, conducts scientific activities in order to study the interior of the little-studied northern hemisphere of Mars.
Scientists have already established that the Utopia Plain is covered with a dense layer of soil. However, it also has a relatively small amount of cobblestones and sand dunes. This means that in the future it will be easier for the rover to navigate the surface of the planet, as well as to collect soil for subsequent analysis. The Zhuzhong cameras also captured many small rocks and sedimentary rock deposits that form on Earth in the presence of water. It is assumed that their further study will help scientists understand how the geological and chemical evolution of the northern hemisphere of Mars proceeded.