(The AEGIS Alliance) – The fanciful notions of humans residing on Mars has grown one phase closer to turning into an actuality just this week. Recently published photos snapped by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) reveal that huge deposits of clean water ice — over 300 feet deep in some areas — are buried just below the Red Planet’s surface.
These photos that are a portion of research that were published in the journal Science on Thursday, display that erosion formed steep cliffs at various places along Mars’ equator, the areas where there are warmer temperatures. The layers of ice are exposed on cliff slopes,which permits researchers to judge the deposits’ purity and dimension.
“It’s like having one of those ant farms where you can see through the glass on the side to learn about what’s usually hidden beneath the ground,” Shane Byrne, one of the study’s authors, told NBC News.
Although, that water ice exists on Mars isn’t a good revelation in itself. Scientists have further speculated this as a great deal, as National Geographic explains:
“In 2002, the NASA Odyssey mission scanned the planet from orbit and detected signs of shallow ground ice at high latitudes. In 2008, the NASA Phoenix mission dug up water ice at its landing site near the Martian north pole.”
“And in late 2016, scientists using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found a buried ice sheet at Mars’s mid-latitudes that holds about as much water as Lake Superior.”
These certainly interesting portions of the findings is that these reasonable and pure layers of ice are so close to the planet’s surface. In some circumstances, they’re just a number of feet below, which helps make the seemingly limitless water readily available to human beings.
“Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need,” says Byrne, who is employed at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.
As for the place the ice originated, a planetary geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey and lead writer of the research, Colin Dundas says it has been hypothesized that “snow could have fallen inside the final various million many years throughout intervals when Mars’ axis was extra tilted than it is now.”
In addition to these findings it opens the door to the concept of people gaining entry to a regular supply of water on Mars, research authors state that analyzing the sediment trapped inside these ice layers may be able to give insights into the Red Planet’s climate records.
“We’ve learned a lot about the ancient history in other ways,” Dundas mentioned. “This is preserving a record of what conditions have been like in relatively recent times — which is still quite interesting. It’s a different aspect of Mars science.”
But there are challenges to take into account before rushing into celebration, as WIRED made note of:
“The eight sites Dundas and his colleagues observed were all located at upper mid-latitudes, between 55 and 60 degrees north or south of the equator, where temperatures can drop extremely low. Most Mars missions, though, restrict their landing sites to within 30 degrees of the equator — as would future crewed missions to the planet’s surface, most likely.”
Speaking to WIRED, one NASA scientist places it yet a different way. “If you wanna keep warm, it is much better to be in Hawaii than Alaska,” said Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Richard Zurek, who was not concerned with this analysis.
Still, researching authors suggest that the findings of these kinds of huge sheets of ice so near Mars’ surface has offered the scientific local community a great benefit to perform the job in unraveling the mysteries of the Red Planet:
“This 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.”
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.