Space

Scientists discover thick ice sheets beneath the surface of Mars

The latest find about Mars has excited the scientists. Thick sheets of ice have been found beneath the surface of the Red Planet. These ice sheets were found below large slopes, and the interesting thing is that these ice sheets are made up of relatively clean water. Beneath one such large slope, an ice sheet is present that is almost 330 feet (100 meters) thick and this result in the blue-black hue of the lands space.

The researchers of the latest study said that newly found ice sheets have distinct layers that could throw considerable light on the climate history of Mars. As the ice deposits are covered by just a few feet of Martian dirt, this could possibly allow future astronomers who travel to Mars to access those ice sheets. Lead author of the study Colin Dundas of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff said that although he is not familiar with the resource extraction technology, but the discovery can prove to be beneficial for future crewed missions to Mars.

For the study, Dundas and his team analyzed high-resolution images taken by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera fitted on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of NASA. They found out three dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. The scientists identified eighth such deposits of ice sheet exposed by erosions. Dundas said that the high-resolution data has greatly improved their understanding of various ice-related landforms on Mars. Mars, being known as an icy and dried planet, is not a new thing.

When NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft arrived on the planet in 2001, it found traces of hydrogen on the red planet through its gamma-ray spectrometer. This indicates that Martian surface contains enormous amounts of ice. Also, the Curiosity rover that is currently exploring Mars has also found evidence of dried lakes and oceans on Mars. All these things indicate that Mars was a watery planet in its initial phase and now it has become a dry and icy planet.

Throwing some more light about the latest icy imagery of Mars, Dundas said, “The take-home message is, these are nice exposures that teach us about the 3D structure of the ice, including that the ice sheets begin shallowly, and also that there are fine layers.” Although previous studies made scientists ware of the ice deposits on the ice, the latest study can provide vital information about the thickness, layering, and purity of ice on the red planet. This could, in return, give some more insights about Mars’ climatic conditions in the past.

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The TeCake Staff

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