Much of the Martian surface is covered by a weathering layer (regolith or soil) produced by long-term surface processes such as impact gardening, eolian erosion, water weathering, and glacial modifications. China’s first Martian mission, Tianwen-1, employed the Mars Rover Penetrating Radar (RoPeR) to unveil the detailed structure of the regolith layer and assess its loss tangent. The RoPeR radargram revealed the local regolith layer to be highly heterogeneous and geologically complex and characterized by structures that resemble partial or complete crater walls and near-surface impact lenses at a very shallow depth. However, comparable radar data from the Lunar far side are rather uniform, despite the two surfaces being geologically contemporary. The close-to-surface crater presented in this study shows no detectable surface expression, which suggests an accelerated occultation rate for small craters on the surface of Mars as compared to the rate on the Moon. This is probably due to the relentless eolian processes on the Martian surface that led to the burial of the crater and thus shielded it from further erosion. The high loss tangent indicates that the regolith at the Tianwen-1 landing site is not dominated by water ice.

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