Large Amounts of Water Ice Found Beneath Mars' Surface

Large Amounts of Water Ice Found Beneath Mars' Surface

In 2011, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sent back images of unusual dark streaks on some slopes of Mars, news that reverberated throughout the scientific community, many members of which postulated that the geological feature could be a sign of flowing water. Most of this precious liquid escaped into space, but some of it stayed behind, transforming into ice and settling beneath the rocky surface.

Researchers previously used MRO's Shallow Radar (SHARAD) to map extensive underground water-ice sheets in middle latitudes of Mars and estimate that the top of the ice is less than about 10 yards beneath the ground surface.

"The takeaway is that we have a new window into Martian ice underground", Dundas says.

The new study not only suggests that underground water ice lies under a thin covering over wide areas, it also identifies eight sites where ice is directly accessible, at latitudes with less hostile conditions than at Mars' polar ice caps.

"Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need", said one of the report's authors, Shane Byrne of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.

However, they are not as treacherous as the poles, and if a sample could be drilled from one of the glaciers, researchers could learn plenty about Mars' climate and the potential for life on earth's neighbouring planet. In reality, there's a lot more going on with Mars than most people realize. Today the two planets' tilts are about the same.

More news: Barclays CEO Urges Theresa May to Cut Taxes Post-Brexit
More news: Norfolk MP warns government over impact of 'hard Brexit'
More news: Large scale protests erupt in Tunisia over austerity measures

The ice contains bands and colour variations that suggest it was formed layer by layer, perhaps as snow accumulated over time, leading to ice sheets.

This research benefited from coordinated use of multiple instruments on Mars orbiters, plus the longevities at Mars now exceeding 11 years for MRO and 16 years for Odyssey. Not having readily accessible water on Mars would be a real headache, and something that could delay or slow down exploration and migration efforts, and possibly force astronauts to the poles, where ice is more readily available at the surface. Orbital observations will continue, but future missions to the surface could seek additional information.

"Whilst water ice is known to be present in some locations on Mars, many questions remain about its layering, thickness, purity and extent", Dundas said. The Red Planet is always thought of in popular culture as being one step less habitable than Utah - dry, sandy desert in all directions, with nothing but rocks and the occasional cannonball to break up the scenery. Imaging with a spectrograph provided evidence of water at the Martian surface in the region, reinforcing the idea that this could be ice. The slopes are probably being continuously exposed as the ice sublimates into the Martian atmosphere, likely to cycle up to the poles and end up frozen there.

Ice on Mars was initially discovered a few years ago, but at the time, we weren't entirely sure how much was there.

"We expect the vertical structure of Martian ice-rich deposits to preserve a record of ice deposition and past climate", the study says.

Related Articles

  • Glenn Maxwell snubbed as Australia recall Cameron White

    Glenn Maxwell snubbed as Australia recall Cameron White

    His recall leaves Victorian teammate Maxwell at the crossroads with the national side already planning for the 2019 World Cup. I'd like to think I can go into it not putting too much pressure on myself but I probably will.
    New MH370 search approved as Malaysia offers $70 million reward

    New MH370 search approved as Malaysia offers $70 million reward

    If the mission is successful within three months, payment will be made based on the size of the area searched. The agreement states Ocean Infinity will be paid only if it finds the airliner's wreckage.
    Tonya Harding is skating over remorse

    Tonya Harding is skating over remorse

    Tony's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly and his friend, Shawn Eckardt hired a man to injure Nancy leading up to the 1994 Winter Olympics. Harding's mother has claimed that her daughter hates her. "I see a much softer, more positive side of Tonya than I've ever seen.
  • Ford recalls trucks over airbags, tells owners to 'stop driving'

    Ford recalls trucks over airbags, tells owners to 'stop driving'

    The problem brought a criminal conviction and fine against Takata and forced the Japanese company into bankruptcy protection. The recommendation comes after a fatal Takata air bag inflator explosion in July in one of the trucks.
    Celtics erase 22-point deficit to beat 76ers in London

    Celtics erase 22-point deficit to beat 76ers in London

    Again, the team will need some time to adjust with the return of Thomas, but he actually weakens them further defensively. They've played three times in Madrid, three times in Italy, once in London and once in Istanbul (2012).
    OPEC members not keen on Brent prices above $60

    OPEC members not keen on Brent prices above $60

    At the same time, there is some temporary stability in the Middle East , which reduces the risk of production and supply issues. At 419.5 million barrels, US crude oil inventories are in the middle of the average range for this time of year.
  • Mazda plant caps Alabama auto sector's successful year

    Mazda plant caps Alabama auto sector's successful year

    Toyota and Mazda on Wednesday made it official: Alabama, not North Carolina, will be the home of their new joint factory. The site for the new plant is in Huntsville, located approximately 14 miles from Toyota's Alabama plant.
    Funke Akindele To Star In 'Avengers: Infinity Wars'

    Funke Akindele To Star In 'Avengers: Infinity Wars'

    The " Avengers: Infinity War " movie, which is being directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, has been set for a May 4, 2018, release. At first glance, it seems like a big old flashback from the Battle of NY , but what makes that impossible is Ant-Man's presence.
    Le'Veon Bell Would Consider Retirement if Franchise Tagged

    Le'Veon Bell Would Consider Retirement if Franchise Tagged

    If Bell continues to insist he won't play under the franchise tag, the Steelers will have a tough decision to make. After being franchise tagged ahead of the 2017, he doesn't want that to be the case again.
  • ISRO successfully launches 100th satellite on board PSLV-C40

    ISRO successfully launches 100th satellite on board PSLV-C40

    The new Cartosat-2 satellite's functioning is similar to the PSLV C-38/Cartosat-2 launch , which took place on June 23, 2017. PSLV-C40 will be launched from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota on Friday at 9.29 am.
    Year-old Texas church massacre victim finally gets to go home

    Year-old Texas church massacre victim finally gets to go home

    Duncan carried him out as quickly as he could and since the shooting he's visited him at a San Antonio hospital on Sunday's. Ryland's stepmother Joann Ward and his sisters, 5-year-old Brooke Ward and 7-year-old Emily Garza, died in the shooting.
    Intel says performance impact of security updates not significant

    Intel says performance impact of security updates not significant

    The flaw could allow hackers to see inside a kernel's memory to access sensitive information of the user or exploit more malware . The company said in a statement that its product designs meant that there is a " near zero risk to AMD processors at this time".