New images from Mars show “large slopes of ice” and gave scientists a hint at how they were formed. One of the more popular theories is that snowfall had a hand in their formation.
The images also showed the size and accessibility of the ice sheets which is instrumental when it comes to the possibility of NASA sending an astronaut to Mars.
Future Martian explorers may have a more accessible supply of water thanks to a new discovery from our Mars Orbiter: Eight sites of thick, relatively pure water ice deposits, likely accumulated as snow long ago, have been found on the Red Planet. Details: https://t.co/fE16INLoae pic.twitter.com/bITL6PdfjD
— NASA (@NASA) January 11, 2018
What’s also incredibly important is that the research images depict that the ice is “made of relatively clean water.”
Colin Dundas, a planetary geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, wrote in ScienceMag.org that “at these locations its quite a thick ice sheet of rather clean ice.”
“There’s certainly some amount of dust and debris in it, and there can be small amounts of salts or other things as well, but what we’re seeing at the scarps are predominately ice,” Dundas adds.
More detail from ScienceMag.org:
“Some locations on Mars are known to have water ice just below the surface, but how much has remained unclear. Dundas et al. used data from two orbiting spacecraft to examine eight locations where erosion has occurred. This revealed cliffs composed mostly of water ice, which is slowly sublimating as it is exposed to the atmosphere. The ice sheets extend from just below the surface to a depth of 100 meters or more and appear to contain distinct layers, which could preserve a record of Mars’ past climate. They might even be a useful source of water for future human exploration of the red planet.”
Watch NASA’s Original Finding From 2015:
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