NASA Finds Vast Deposits of Ice Just Under Martian Surface
We have known for years that there is at least water ice on Mars, but it’s hard to know where it is and how easy it would be to # 39; extract. New data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate that there could be many in the giant leafs that run for hundreds of meters, hiding just below the surface . This could make future manned missions to explore Mars much more feasible.
The dusty Martian surface has proved that She was able to hide the icy deposits of the planet. While several rovers and ground probes have studied closely Mars they can only probe the top meter of the surface. Scientists have long suspected that all significant sources of ice on Mars would be under the surface where they remain protected – from us and from the elements. Fortunately, erosion occurs on Mars as on Earth. Using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA has spotted several places where erosion has revealed vast ice caps (in blue above).
Using high resolution images of the Orbiter’s HiRISE camera, NASA identified eight escarpments (steep slopes) where thick Ice layers are visible along the middle of the planet. -latitudes. The team theorizes that ice was deposited in the past as snow before being compacted and obscured by the dust and rocks of Mars. The readings indicate that the ice is relatively pure and at least several meters thick. Some deposits are 100 meters thick. At the top of the ice is a “ice cap” mixed with rocks and dust a few meters more
NASA believes that access to water on Mars is essential to any long-term exploration plan. Each grain of material you throw into space adds tremendously to the cost. Taking all the water needed to support human astronauts adds significant complications. The water is not just for people: it divides the molecules into oxygen and the hydrogen produces fuel that can be used for a return trip, saving even more on launch costs.
Research is launched for other examples of these icy escarpments. The eight identified by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter lie between 55 and 60 degrees north or south of the equator. These regions of the planet become very cool at night, so most missions focus on a narrow band around the equator. If frozen escarpments are found in these areas, this could be a boon for future human exploration. However, NASA’s concerns could be hidden deeper beneath the surface in these warmer regions. The NASA rover 2020 will bring a georeferenced radar on the red planet that could point scientists in the right direction.