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3-D Structure of Buried Ice Sheets on Mars Revealed by High-Resolution Images

13 Jan 2018, 19:06 UTC
3-D Structure of Buried Ice Sheets on Mars Revealed by High-Resolution Images
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For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. According to an in-depth analysis led by the USGS, the images reveal never-before-observed details about the ice sheets, including that some begin just a few feet below the Martian surface and extend to depths greater than 300 feet.The study, published in Science, shows there is low rock and dust content in the exposed ice. This means that relatively pure water ice, capped by only a thin layer of ice-cemented rock and dust, may be readily accessible to future exploration missions.“There is ice under roughly a third of the Martian surface, which records the recent geologic history of Mars,” said USGS scientist and lead author of the study, Colin Dundas. “What we’ve seen here are cross-sections through the ice that give us a 3-D view with more detail than ever before. Having this degree of detail is an important contribution to the growing body of knowledge about conditions on Mars.”Although water ice deposits are known to exist from previous Mars missions, this new study analyzed the vertical structure and thickness of ice sheets using high-resolution imagery and topography from the HiRISE instrument on NASA’s Mars ...

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