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Experts discover strange polygon structures buried beneath the surface of Mars

Experts discover strange polygon structures buried beneath the surface of Mars

The mysterious wedges could have an implication for future colonization of the Red Planet.

Have you ever wondered what was below the surface of Mars? Aliens, perhaps? Precious metals? Maybe even technological advances beyond our wildest dreams?

Well, scientists may not have found anything quite that dramatic, but they did discover something which could help humans determine the suitability of the Red Planet for colonization in the future.

Strange polygon structures have been discovered deep under the Martian surface.

China’s Zhurong rover discovered evidence of giant polygonal wedges found more than 100 feet below the surface of Mars, with scientists reporting in the journal Nature Astronomy that it they "most likely formed by thermal contraction cracking".

Surface level polygons measuring just centimeters wide had been observed by NASA’s Curiosity rover, and were formed in repeated wet-dry cycles where water evaporates from mud, causing the mud to shrink and cracks to open on the surface.

However, the discovery of these comparably gargantuan polygonal shapes suggests a different mechanism at play millions of years ago.

The Zhurong rover, which landed in Utopia Planitia in May 2021, uses a ground-penetrating radar to observe down to 100 meters - far more than the 10 meters allowed by NASA's Perseverance rover.

A team lead by Lei Zhang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences tracked the data and found walls of polygons from depths of 35 meters to 65 meters. The group believe it may be related to water/ice freeze-thaw processes on early Mars.

The discovery could have implications on the future colonization of Mars.

Researchers added that the discovery shows water froze at low latitudes, which would have required wide climatic changes.

A Curiosity study team member – Benton Clark from the Space Science Institute – believes that the discovery could lead to further information regarding the planet’s water history, potentially helping to answer questions such as ‘when were the wet spells on Mars?’

This could have practical implications for any potential colonization of the mythical planet - something we're sure Elon Musk is keen to hear about.

The lack of buried polygonal terrain above that 35 meter mark shows a “stark environmental transition”, according to Zhang’s team, which could have marked the end of the planet’s wet period.

One thing’s for sure – anybody interested in moving to Mars needs to know about its water resources, and this discovery could take the human race one step closer to this.

Featured Image Credit: Baac3nes/Westend61/Getty Images