Steep slopes on Mars reveal structure of buried ice

Game-changing discovery: Scientists believe massive ice sheets on Mars could create oxygen for humans

Scientists Have Discovered Massive Ice Sheets on Mars

The discovery of frozen water on the planet is not a revelation and it is known that there is water on the planet, especially at the poles.

A statement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science follows below.

Giant water ice reserves have been spotted by scientists just below the surface of Mars, in eight different locations.

"There is shallow ground ice under roughly a third of the Martian surface, which records the recent history of Mars", said Colin Dundas of the U S Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center. Whilst water ice is known to be present in some locations on Mars, many questions remain about its layering, thickness, purity, and extent.

The researchers, led by geologist Colin Dandas of the US Geological Survey Astrological Center, who published the journal Science, analyzed photographs and other data collected by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is in orbit around 'Mars since 2006. The fractures and steep angles indicate that the ice is cohesive and strong, the authors say.

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It's been a generally-agreed fact for years that Mars is hiding significant ice deposits. The ice seems to have been formed relatively recently, probably after the fall of snow, as there are not many craters on the surface above them.

In 2016, a NASA study said ice may yield more water per scoop than minerals, which means the H20 could be more hard to access.

The abstract from the paper follows below.

"Here we have what we think is nearly pure water ice buried just below the surface". This revealed cliffs composed mostly of water ice, which is slowly sublimating as it is exposed to the atmosphere. They hold clues about Mars' climate history. They found the ice at the northern and southern hemispheres of Mars, which is equivalent to Earth's regions like South America or Scotland, and believe it could "be a useful source of water for future human exploration of the red planet", they wrote.

However, erosion in these regions creates scarps that expose the internal structure of the mantle. A scarp likely grows wider and taller as it "retreats", due to sublimation of the ice directly from solid form into water vapour. "Something caused [the ice] to be deposited and then deposited again", and that thing is most likely to be snowfall.

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