Nav: Home

Multiple sites rich in water ice found on Mars

January 11, 2018

Erosion on Mars is exposing deposits of water ice, starting at depths as shallow as one to two meters below the surface and extending 100 meters or more. The ice is a critical target for science and exploration: it affects modern geomorphology, is expected to preserve a record of climate history, influences the planet's habitability, and may be a potential resource for future exploration. Whilst water ice is known to be present in some locations on Mars, many questions remain about its layering, thickness, purity, and extent. Now, Colin Dundas and colleagues have pinpointed eight locations, using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), where steep, pole-facing slopes created by erosion expose substantial quantities of sub-surface ice. The fractures and steep angles indicate that the ice is cohesive and strong, the authors say. What's more, bands and variations in color suggest that the ice contains distinct layers, which could be used to understand changes in Mars' climate over time (the ice sheets themselves likely formed as snow accumulated over time). Since there are few craters on the surface at these sites, the authors propose that the ice was formed relatively recently. Images taken over the course of three Martian years reveal massive chunks of rock that fell from the ice as erosion occurred, leading the researchers to estimate that the ice is retreating a few millimeters each summer. Because the ice is only visible where surface soil has been removed, Dundas et al. say it is likely that ice near the surface is even more extensive than detected in this study. The ice could be a useful source of water for future missions to Mars.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Mars Articles:

How hard did it rain on Mars?
Heavy rain on Mars reshaped the planet's impact craters and carved out river-like channels in its surface billions of years ago, according to a new study published in Icarus.
Does Mars have rings? Not right now, but maybe one day
Purdue researchers developed a model that suggests that debris that was pushed into space from an asteroid or other body slamming into Mars around 4.3 billion years ago and alternates between becoming a planetary ring and clumping up to form a moon.
Digging deeper into Mars
Scientists continue to unravel the mystery of life on Mars by investigating evidence of water in the planet's soil.
A bewildering form of dune on Mars
Researchers have discovered a type of dune on Mars intermediate in size between tiny ripples and wavier dunes, and unlike anything seen on Earth.
Mars is emerging from an ice age
Radar measurements of Mars' polar ice caps reveal that the mostly dry, dusty planet is emerging from an ice age, following multiple rounds of climate change.
Shifting sands on Mars
University of Iowa researchers have a $501,000 NASA grant to travel to Iceland to better understand sand dunes found all over the planet Mars.
Potatoes on Mars
A team of world-class CIP and NASA scientists will grow potatoes under Martian conditions in a bid to save millions of lives.
You too can learn to farm on Mars!
Scientists at Washington State University and the University of Idaho are helping students figure out how to farm on Mars, much like astronaut Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, attempts in the critically acclaimed movie 'The Martian.'
Similarities between aurorae on Mars and Earth
An international team of researchers has for the first time predicted the occurrence of aurorae visible to the naked eye on a planet other than Earth.
Mars might have liquid water
Researchers have long known that there is water in the form of ice on Mars.

Related Mars Reading:

Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet
by Leonard David (Author), Ron Howard (Foreword)

The next frontier in space exploration is Mars, the red planet. National Geographic goes years fast-forward to take a peek into the gravity-defying world of outer space with stunning photography, amazing visuals, and strong science. This companion book to the National Geographic Channel series dramatizes the next 25 years as humans land on and learn to live on Mars. Filled with vivid photographs taken on Earth, in space, and on Mars; arresting maps; and commentary from the world’s top planetary scientists, this fascinating book will take you millions of miles away—and decades into the... View Details


Mars: The Red Planet: Rocks, Rovers, Pioneers, and More! (Science & Nature)
by Elizabeth Carney (Author)

Budding scientists and kids curious about Earth's next-door neighbor can blast off to the red planet! This highly visual book will cover all kinds of topics, from extreme weather to high-tech rovers to plans for a human colony on Mars. Complete with up-to-date facts about water and all the latest discoveries, Mars: The Red Planet comes at an exciting time for space exploration. View Details


Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)
by Kim Stanley Robinson (Author)

Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel • Soon to be a series on Spike TV
 
Discover the novel that launched one of science fiction’s most beloved, acclaimed, and awarded trilogies: Kim Stanley Robinson’s masterly near-future chronicle of interplanetary colonization.
 
For centuries, the barren, desolate landscape of the red planet has beckoned to humankind. Now a group of one hundred colonists begins a mission whose ultimate goal is to transform Mars into a more Earthlike planet. They will place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to... View Details


Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
by Mary Roach (Author)

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void View Details


The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must
by Robert Zubrin (Author), Arthur C. Clarke (Foreword), Richard Wagner (Foreword)

Since the beginning of human history, Mars has been an alluring dream—the stuff of legends, gods, and mystery. The planet most like ours, it has still been thought impossible to reach, let alone explore and inhabit. But all that changed when leading space exploration authority Robert Zubrin crafted a daring new blueprint, Mars Direct. When it was first published in 1996, The Case for Mars became an instant classic, lauded widely for its game-changing perspective by those who would see the American space program rise to the challenge of Mars; Carl Sagan called Zubrin the man who,... View Details


How We'll Live on Mars (TED Books)
by Stephen Petranek (Author)

Award-winning journalist Stephen Petranek says humans will live on Mars by 2027. Now he makes the case that living on Mars is not just plausible, but inevitable.

It sounds like science fiction, but Stephen Petranek considers it fact: Within twenty years, humans will live on Mars. We’ll need to. In this sweeping, provocative book that mixes business, science, and human reporting, Petranek makes the case that living on Mars is an essential back-up plan for humanity and explains in fascinating detail just how it will happen.

The race is on. Private companies, driven by... View Details


Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet (Science & Nature)
by Buzz Aldrin (Author), Marianne Dyson (Author)

Space is still the final frontier and Mars continues to make news and attract generations of young people. In this fascinating book, hero-astronaut Buzz Aldrin challenges curious kids to think about Mars as not just a faraway red planet but as a possible future home for Earthlings!  What will your new home be like? How will you get there? What will you eat for breakfast? Find out what life might be like far, far from Earth as you navigate your way through this fun and fascinating book. What kid wouldn't want to blast off with him on this (literary) journey! View Details


Mars: The Pristine Beauty of the Red Planet
by Alfred S. McEwen (Author), Candice Hansen-Koharcheck (Author), Ari Espinoza (Author)

HiRISE is the most powerful camera ever sent to another planet, showing us Mars in astonishing detail. Featuring an outstanding and never-before-published collection of HiRISE high-resolution color images with explanatory captions in twenty-four languages, this book offers a unique volume produced from an active NASA mission.

Mars enthusiasts will appreciate these perfect snapshots of our current understanding of Mars, with soon-to-be classic pictures that have come to define our vision of the Red Planet. These images and their interpretations will be held as a yardstick for... View Details


National Geographic Readers: Mars
by Elizabeth Carney (Author)

Discover the fascinating world of Mars in this colorful book packed with amazing imagery. In this inviting and entertaining format, kids will learn about the newest information on Mars, the Mars Rover, and our ongoing exploration of the Red Planet. This level 3 reader is written in an easy-to-grasp style to encourage the scientists and explorers of tomorrow! View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Peering Deeper Into Space
The past few years have ushered in an explosion of new discoveries about our universe. This hour, TED speakers explore the implications of these advances — and the lingering mysteries of the cosmos. Guests include theoretical physicist Allan Adams, planetary scientist Sara Seager, and astrophysicists Natasha Hurley-Walker and Jedidah Isler.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#461 Adhesives
This week we're discussing glue from two very different times. We speak with Dr. Jianyu Li about his research into a new type of medical adhesive. And Dr. Geeske Langejans explains her work making and investigating Stone Age and Paleolithic glues.