Geomorphologic exploration targets at the Zhurong landing site in the southern Utopia Planitia of Mars

Binlong Ye, Yuqi Qian, Long Xiao, Joseph R. Michalski, Yiliang Li, Bo Wu, Le Qiao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


On May 15, 2021, Tianwen-1's rover Zhurong landed successfully at 109.926°E, 25.066°N, in southern Utopia Planitia on Mars. The Zhurong landing site contains a wide range of geomorphic exploration targets including troughs, raised ridges, pitted cones, mesas, sand dunes and crater ejecta. Aspects of all of these features suggest formation through interactions between volatiles, sediments, and magma. Pitted cones are invaluable windows into the subsurface and intriguing astrobiology targets for Martian life considering that they potentially formed from diapiric upwelling of fine-grained sediments (i.e. mud volcanism), a process that on Earth is often associated with methane release. The ground-penetrating radar onboard Zhurong will provide fundamentally new perspectives on the presence, distribution, and abundance of subsurface water-ice, a strategic natural resource for future crewed Mars exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117199
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2021


  • climate
  • Mars
  • missions
  • rover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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