Deep, buried glaciers spotted on Mars

Deep buried glaciers spotted on Mars

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.

Underground ice found beneath Mars' surface extending to its middle latitude.

The findings showed that ice may be more available than previously known for use as water to support future robotic or human exploration missions, perhaps even the establishment of a permanent Mars base.

The study relied on images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been studying the planet's atmosphere and terrain since 2006. I think it's sort of a game-changer.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been circling the Red Planet for over 10 years now, sending back incredible pictures of the Martian surface, using its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.

"Here we have what we think is nearly pure water ice buried just below the surface".

A radar instrument on the MRO previously detected signatures of thick, buried ice across the planet's belly, however, this latest study indicates a greater prevalence of Martian ice.

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According to new research, a sizable portion of this water ice is very near the surface, only a few feet below in some places.

The ice sheets which appeared bluish in the high-resolution images, looked like steep cliffs of glaciers, up to 100 meters tall.

The cliffs are located in the northern and southern hemispheres of Mars, at a latitude of 55 to 58 degrees, which on Earth would be similar to Scotland or the tip of South America. "In the mid-latitudes, it's normally covered by a blanket of dust or regolith", loose bits of rock atop a layer of bedrock, said research geologist Colin Dundas of the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

"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", the paper's co-author Shane Byrne said in a statement. With the help of the images, scientists found out that there are eight sites that appear to have huge ice deposits on steep slopes.

There's a lot of mystery surrounding Mars, but scientists have recently made a groundbreaking discovery: ice.

"Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need", Byrne added.

NASA plans to send the first human explorers to Mars by the 2030s.



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