Scientists Discover Huge Caches of Ice Buried on Mars
By Kevin Lee
The European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft may have just discovered large deposits of water ice buried on Mars. The ice could finally be the actual, physical proof that there was once liquid water on Mars’s surface, and it could serve as a source of water for future astronauts.
The ice was discovered in the Phelgra Montes mountain range after new high-resolution images taken by the Mars Express’s stereo camera revealed tell-tale signs of glacial movement. The scientists discovered that almost every mountain was surrounded by “lobate debris aprons”, or curved valleys created by moving glaciers that leave a U-shaped trough in their wake.
There may be ice hidden all along the Phelgra Montes range, which spans 840 miles (1,352 km) of the planet’s surface. The ESA backed up their theories by using the radar on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to look underneath the Martian surface. The radar showed that the “lobate debris aprons were strongly associated with the presence of water” that could be only 20-meters (65-feet) underground.
The scientists also noted that the surrounding craters in the area provide further evidence of ice. There are a series of ridges created by impact craters that were later sculpted by ice formed from snow compacting into glaciers. The ESA believe that all of this mid-latitiude ice formed sometime in the last several hundred million years.
Hopefully all these theories and potential evidence lead to the discovery of real ice and space explorers will be drinking a cool glass of Martian water soon.