China launches first batch of research from Mars exploration

China’s first Mars spacecraft Zhurong with its landing pad. / CNSA

China’s first Mars spacecraft Zhurong with its landing pad. / CNSA

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Sunday released a set of scientific research results from the Mars probe Tianwen-1 for the first time.

The Tianwen-1 orbiter has been in service for 780 days, and the Zhurong rover had traveled 1,921 meters on the Red Planet’s surface as of Thursday, according to the CNSA’s Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center.

The center said that both the orbiter and the rover completed the targeted scientific exploration missions, and obtained 1,480 gigabytes of raw scientific data.

Using data collected by Zhurong, Chinese scientists have revealed the relationship between the formation of geological features and water activities on Mars by conducting a comprehensive study of these geological features in the landing zone.

Geomorphology of impact craters, excavated cones, grooves and ridges in the landing zone of the Chinese Mars Zhurong spacecraft. / CMG

Geomorphology of impact craters, excavated cones, grooves and ridges in the landing zone of the Chinese Mars Zhurong spacecraft. / CMG

Chinese scientists have also discovered hydrated minerals in plate-like rocks, a layer ofhard shell“proving the existence of significant activity of liquid water in the subduction zone since the Amazon era, which was about a billion years ago.

Platy-like rocks and schematic model of a hard crust formation process in the Zhurong Mars rover landing area of ​​China. / CMG

Platy-like rocks and schematic model of a hard crust formation process in the Zhurong Mars rover landing area of ​​China. / CMG

The scientists also found that the Martian soil has high durability and low friction parameters, revealing the site where the rover landed must have experienced wind and possibly water erosion.

Geological features of Mars in the landing zone of the Chinese spacecraft on Mars Zhurong. / CMG

Geological features of Mars in the landing zone of the Chinese spacecraft on Mars Zhurong. / CMG

These results revealed the influence of wind and water activities on Mars’ geological evolution and environmental changes, and provided support for the hypothesis of an ocean existence in Utopia Planetia, according to CNSA.

In addition, Chinese scientists obtained a number of scientific results on the relationship between the density of rocks on the surface of Mars and the degree of surface erosion, the distribution of ions and neutral particles in the space environment near Mars, and the gravitational field. Mars.

Related studies have been published in natural astronomyAnd the natural earth sciences And the science advances.

The CNSA said future missions will continue to conduct remote sensing surveys and collect scientific data.

The Tianwen-1 probe, consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, was launched on July 23, 2020. On May 15, 2021, it landed in the predetermined landing area of ​​Utopia Planitia, a vast Martian plain, this is the first time that China has landed a probe on this planet.