Massive, deep deposits of ice found on Mars

Adjust Comment Print

That is much shallower than what researchers have shown before. They identified eight locations where erosion had exposed apparent glaciers, some of which extend 330 feet (100 meters) or more into the Red Planet's subsurface.

Water ice is already known to be present in some places on Mars.

Scientists have unearthed thick and massive deposits of ice in some regions on Mars. This latest study may finally be the confirmation we've been looking for. In any case, Dundas says that "at these areas its a significant thick ice sheet of rather clean ice".

So, if these slopes still look like ice after more detailed examination, they seem like a great location to study the history of water on Mars. Images of the erosional scarps reveal geologic features of the ice, such as banded patterns and color variations due to layering.

Similar to ice cores recovered from the Earth's surface, these ice sheets may preserve a record of ice deposition and past climate on Mars.

Blocks falling from an ice-rich scarp, suggestive of erosion.

More news: 5-year-old who survived Texas church shooting leaving hospital
More news: Trump cancels London trip for embassy opening
More news: Stop Driving Notice : 2006 Ford Ranger Vehicles

"There is shallow ground ice under roughly a third of the Martian surface, which records the recent history of Mars..."

Most Mars missions, though, restrict their landing sites to within 30 degrees of the equator-as would future crewed missions to the planet's surface, most likely.

Eight scarps, with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, reveal new information about the internal layered structure of previously detected underground ice sheets in Mars' middle latitudes, the USA space agency said. "But now thanks to CRISM spectral data and colour data from the HiRISE camera, we can actually see the signature of the water ice".

"On Mars, when you see something bright, it usually means ice", says Richard Zurek, chief scientist for the Mars Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who was unaffiliated with the study.

That said, it may not be all that easy to access the ice found in the new study. Some of that ice was then covered up by the movement of dirt on the surface of the planet, saving it from sublimating - turning straight from a solid into gas. How so? They're relatively pure. "These would make excellent candidates for human exploitation, should we ever go there". Questions remain about how the exposed regions formed, though.

NASA calls the use of space-based resources "in-situ resource utilization", and the agency thinks it will be essential to survival in deep space. And as Reeno pointed out to Gizmodo, the frozen water could contain perchlorates, which are toxic to humans. Find us on Facebook too!