Space agency NASA discovers ice layers beneath the surface of Mars

NASA Mars orbiter finds thick layers of exposed water ice on Martian slopes

The remarkable ice cliffs appear to contain distinct layers, which could preserve a record of Mars' past climate, according to the report. But the ice content of the geology in between-the first 20 meters or so-is largely uncharacterized.

For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars.

Now, scientists have discovered such a site.

Researchers already knew that Mars harbors subsurface water ice, and lots of it. Some of the deposits are under just one or two meters of dirt.

The exposed deposit of water ice is more than 100 meters thick. Excessive salinity is a potential problem that would require future colonists to bring clunky desalination devices to the Red Planet.

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There have likewise been noteworthy inquiries regarding how unadulterated Mars ice is. Imaging with a spectrograph provided evidence of water at the Martian surface in the region, reinforcing the idea that this could be ice. If there is water on Mars, it likely comes from water vapor-there are very low levels of the stuff in the atmosphere-or underground ice.

But some debris is to be expected.

Scientists and engineers have long-thought that ice could be a boon for human exploration of the red world.

They hold clues about Mars' climate history.

The latitudes were the equivalent on Earth of Scotland or the tip of South America.

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When we think of Mars, we think of a dry, desolate planet. As Zurek puts it: "If you wanna stay warm, it's better to be in Hawaii than Alaska". "So that's something you'll want to follow up on and investigate before you put your base down", Zurek says.

"I was surprised to find such good, large exposures", Dundas said. Mars, being known as an icy and dried planet, is not a new thing.

The European Space Agency's ExoMars rover, also slated for a 2020 launch, will come outfitted with a drill created to sample geology at depths of up to two meters.

Using data from satellites and rovers that have been rumbling across the surface of the Red Planet, planetary astronomers believe that Mars was once a wet planet, with an ocean and rivers some 4.3-billion years ago. "That one, the technology's not quite there yet, but it's rapidly developing", Zurek says.

The discovery is the clearest sign that life could be supported on Mars, with water the key to any civilisation. Humans will likely return to the moon before they venture into deep space.

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Scientists now have their work cut out for them.

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