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.
A cross-section of a thick sheet of underground ice is exposed at the steep slope that appears bright blue in this enhanced-color view of Mars from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in this image released on January 11, 2018. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/USGS/Handout via Reuters
Washington: Scientists using images from an orbiting NASA spacecraft have detected eight sites where huge ice deposits near the Martian surface are exposed on steep slopes, a potential source of water that could help sustain future human outposts.
While scientists already knew that about a third of the surface of Mars contains shallow ground ice and that its poles harbour major ice deposits, the research published on Thursday described thick underground ice sheets exposed along slopes up to 100 yards (meters) tall at the planet’s middle latitudes.
“It was surprising to find ice exposed at the surface at these places. In the mid-latitudes, it’s normally covered by a blanket of dust or regolith,” loose bits of rock ...