China’s Mars rover has found evidence that suggests water lasted on Mars for much longer than previously thought. The Zhurong rover landed in a large plain in Mars’ northern hemisphere called Utopia Planitia on May 15, 2021. Its primary mission was to search for signs of ancient life and it lasted for three months.
It has analyzed minerals, environment and distribution of water and ice in the plain, which is all part of the largest impact basin in the Martian northern lowlands. The rover continuously explores and sends back information to an orbiter circling the planet. Data received from the rover suggests that the basin contained water during a time when many scientists believed the planet was dry.
Billions of years ago, Mars was once warm and wet but something changed and caused the planet to become a frozen desert. The planet entered this period during the Amazonian epoch, which started about 3 billion years ago and remains ongoing.
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