Friday, 25 May, 2018


Huge Underground Ice Sheets Discovered on Mars

NASA Mars- Ice deposit Huge Underground Ice Sheets Discovered on Mars
Kristine Garrett | 13 January, 2018, 16:17

Scientists examining the images send back by MRO have found eight different locations on Mars that reveal vast deposits of nearly pure water ice, which lie just 2 metres (6.5 feet) below the surface.

The frozen water near the Martian surface was detected using images from NASA spacecraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter now orbiting Mars.

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.

The results revealed massive subsurface ice sheets on the planet extending from just below the surface to a depth of at least 100 meters (328ft).

According to National Geographic "human missions to Mars would likely rely on extracting water from the local environment, either baking it out of hydrated minerals or mining it from ice deposits".

Scientists previously knew of the existence of ice in Mars' polar caps and shallow ground ice on its surface. The sheer size of the ice sheets could help scientists better understand the history of Mars and its climate, NASA said.

The scientists located and studied the scarp sites with the high resolution imaging science experiment (HiRISE) camera.

The cliffs were all found at latitudes about 55° north or south - discouraging latitudes for a solar-powered human base, according to the team.

"Mars is cold and dry, with most of the H2O in the form of ice, and a little water vapour in the atmosphere", Colin Dundas, lead author of the study from the US Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center, told IBTimes UK. Because the ice is only visible where surface soil has been removed, Dundas et al. say it is likely that ice near the surface is even more extensive than detected in this study.

"Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need", Byrne added. "It's like having one of those ant farms where you can see through the glass on the side to learn about what's usually hidden beneath the ground". This makes these sites very valuable, for the climate science they contain locked away in their layers, and as a potential water source for when humans eventually land on Mars, and attempt to establish colonies there.

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