Chinese scientists said that wet minerals detected by a Chinese robotic rover on Mars in a huge depression believed to be the site of an ancient ocean indicate that water has been on the planet’s surface for longer than previously thought.
In a research paper published in the journal Science Advances, the scientists said that according to the analysis of data sent by the Chorong rover spacecraft, indications of water were detected in mineral samples dating back only 700 million years.
It is believed that Mars had water three billion years ago when its second geological age, known as the Hesperian period, ended. In the current Amazonian era, there is no water on the surface of Mars.
The Chinese scientists added that the mineral-containing soil found in the samples Churong collected has a hard crust that may have formed from rising groundwater or melting ice that has since evaporated.
The Chorong spacecraft has traveled about two kilometers from its landing site and has been collecting data since it reached Mars in May last year.
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