The findings were published in Science Advances.
NASA's Perseverance Rover and China's Zhurong rover have found signs of soaked sand dunes and rushing rivers on the red planet. China's rover found evidence that frost may have cemented dunes together as recently as 400,000 years ago. NASA's Perseverance found signs that a fast, powerful waterway once carved its way into Jezero crater, dumping water at a fantastic rate, according to a National Geographic report.
The findings were published in Science Advances. Zhurong which landed on Mars in May 2021 after it failed to wake up after a planned hibernation period, likely due to accumulation of dust on its solar panels.
NASA's Perseverance found the largest-ever river on Mars. The river was more than 66 feet deep in some places based on the height of rock formations. Scientists believe that these are preserved sandbars.
Jani Radebaugh, a researcher at Brigham Young University in Utah said that both findings "highlight the fact that it's really valuable to put things on the surface of the other planets."
China's rover discovered signs of water on the Martian surface. Sand dunes near the rover have developed a crust that likely formed as water interacted with the minerals. That water could have come from frosts that formed on the dunes in the past, or it might have fallen as snow hundreds of thousands of years ago when the planet's tilt may have allowed for snowfall in this region, reported Nat Geo.
The crusts suggest polygonal features that shrunk and expand over time. "To have these sort of shrinking and expanding features suggests there is relatively recent or modern or ongoing wetting and drying that's happening in these dune regions.
Ralph Milliken, a planetary scientist at Brown University and member of NASA's Mars Curiosity mission told Nat Geo that the dust of Mars is enriched with minerals that can absorb water vapor from the air. If that material covers the sand dunes, humidity changes through the season could cause the dust to absorb water vapour and release it again without it ever becoming liquid.
"These are likely things that are forming in lots of different places on Mars," Milliken says. "This might be a process that could be occurring over a large chunk of the planet in the recent geologic past."
While China's rover investigated the dune soakings, Perseverance explored the remains of a powerful torrent.
The NASA rover showed evidence that ancient rivers that once flowed over the planet ran much deeper, and flowed much faster than researchers previously thought. The river was part of a network of waterways that flowed in Jezero Crater. Notably, it's the area the rover has been exploring since landing more than two years ago in the hopes of eventually seeking out signs of ancient microbial life.
''Those indicate a high-energy river that's truckin' and carrying a lot of debris. The more powerful the flow of water, the more easily it's able to move larger pieces of material. It's been a delight to look at rocks on another planet and see processes that are so familiar,'' said Libby Ives, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a NASA release.
For two years, Perseverance has been examining a top of an 820-foot-tall pile of sedimentary rock that stands 820 feet (250 meters) tall and features curving layers suggestive of flowing water. One location within the curvilinear unit, nicknamed ''Sprinkle Haven,'' is captured in one of the new Mastcam-Z mosaics.