Scientists Find Deep Deposits Of Ice Below Martian Surface

By the 2030s NASA hopes to send human explorers to Mars the surface of which is seen in a May 2017 handout

This is probably due to the exposed, solid ice sublimating into gas as it contacts the thin martian air. The scientists think the deposits are pretty pure water ice - a boon for future exploratory missions.

Trouble is, dirt, rocks, and other surface-level contaminants make it hard to study the stuff. And although researchers suspected the subsurface glaciers existed, they would only be a useful resource if they were no more than a few meters below the surface.

Now, scientists have discovered such a site.

The newer Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mapped the surface in greater detail. Using the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, they've pinpointed eight locations where large quantities of sub-surface ice have been exposed by erosion, leaving it accessible for further study.

These images released by NASA show the surface of Mars. Apparently, the reserves begin at depths as shallow as one meter up to a hundred meters into the planet.

Do you believe that the discovery of ice on Mars increases potential habitability? However, ice does reside below the surface.

The ice found this time isn't crystal clear. Boulders and dust that rested on the ice suddenly had their foundation vanish into the atmosphere.

"There is ice under roughly a third of the Martian surface, which records the recent geologic history of Mars", said lead author Dr. Colin Dundas, a research geologist with the Astrogeology Science Center at the U.S. Geological Survey. We are talking a 100-meter-thick chunk of ice that can be converted into water.

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Now, don't pack your bags for Mars just yet.

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. Past missions-and, most likely, future missions-target landing sites within 30 degrees of the equator. "You don't see a high-tech solution", Byrne said.

Plans to do so are already in the works. "We also need more data regarding the shapes, size and how deep these blocks are", he said.

We've found ice on Mars before.

Another option: artificial meteors. According to scientists' predictions, arrivals on Mars are not expected until 2030.

The data suggests that the ice is not only strong, but bands and varying colours suggest that the ice contains layers, which could help scientists better understand how the climate on Mars has changed over its history. "That one, the technology's not quite there yet, but it's rapidly developing", Zurek says.

"If we were to send humans to live on Mars for a substantial period of time, it would be a fantastic source of water", Balme said. One likely hypothesis includes snowfall on the red planet.

Scientists now have their work cut out for them.

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