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Mars Ice Deposit Holds as Much Water as Lake Superior

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posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 02:29 PM
The discovery was made at the Utopia Planitia region of Mars by scientists using the MRO Shallow Radar instrument , they have determined that the water ice was protected from sublimation by a layer of soil estimated to be between 3 to 33 feet in places , the depth of the water deposit ranges between 260 ft to 560 ft and is a mixture of water , rocks and dust , a glacier.

"This deposit probably formed as snowfall accumulating into an ice sheet mixed with dust during a period in Mars history when the planet's axis was more tilted than it is today," said Cassie Stuurman of the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas, Austin. She is the lead author of a report in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The discovery could prove useful in future maned missions.

"This deposit is probably more accessible than most water ice on Mars, because it is at a relatively low latitude and it lies in a flat, smooth area where landing a spacecraft would be easier than at some of the other areas with buried ice," said Jack Holt of the University of Texas, a co-author of the Utopia paper who is a SHARAD co-investigator and has previously used radar to study Martian ice in buried glaciers and the polar caps.

It also has a Martian geological record ready and accessible for us to explore.

Joe Levy of the University of Texas, a co-author of the new study, said, "The ice deposits in Utopia Planitia aren't just an exploration resource, they're also one of the most accessible climate change records on Mars. We don't understand fully why ice has built up in some areas of the Martian surface and not in others. Sampling and using this ice with a future mission could help keep astronauts alive, while also helping them unlock the secrets of Martian ice ages."

Can't wait till we finally get boots on the ground.

edit on 22-11-2016 by gortex because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 03:23 PM
With access to water, boots on the ground could be followed by a small base of sorts.
So much more exciting than just dropping a flag and making a speech before heading home.

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