China’s Mars Rover Finds Hints of Catastrophic Floods

Photo: NASA [via Space.com]

The Facts

  • According to an analysis published in the journal Nature, China's "Zhurong" rover, which landed on Mars in 2021, may have uncovered evidence of two significant flood events from the planet's deep history.

  • The area of focus, known as "Utopia Planitia," consists of large plains in the planet's northern hemisphere. Zhurong used radar to peer below the surface and found geological evidence for large-scale floods that moved sediments around 3B years ago.


The Spin

Narrative A

The studies on Mars continue to roll in, and it's looking resoundingly like the Red Planet is wetter than it appears. Even if the water is below the surface today, eons ago, oceans could have harbored life, which has implications for understanding our place in the Cosmos. These are exciting times to be alive.

Narrative B

It's great that we're learning about catastrophic floods on Mars, but we need to learn much more about climate-catalyzed issues on Earth. There are more detailed maps of Mars and Venus than there are of our planet's oceans — which hold the key to understanding our warming world. It's essential to understand the nooks and crannies of Planet Earth before we do so for any other planet.

Nerd narrative

There 's a 20% chance that conclusive evidence for extraterrestrial life will be discovered within our solar system by 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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