Deep, buried glaciers spotted on Mars

2018-01-12 18:30
Buried glaciers have been spotted on Mars, offering new hints about how much water may be accessible on the Red Planet and where it is located. (AFP/NASA)

Buried glaciers have been spotted on Mars, offering new hints about how much water may be accessible on the Red Planet and where it is located. (AFP/NASA)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Miami - Buried glaciers have been spotted on Mars, offering new hints about how much water may be accessible on the Red Planet and where it is located, researchers said on Thursday.

Although ice has long been known to exist on Mars, a better understanding of its depth and location could be vital to future human explorers, said the report in the US journal Science.

Erosion has exposed eight ice sites, some as shallow as one meter below the surface, and going as deep as 100 meters or more, it said.

These underground cliffs appear "to be nearly pure ice," said the report, which is based on data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2005.

"This kind of ice is more widespread than previously thought," said Colin Dundas, a geologist at the US Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The ice contains bands and color variations that suggest it was formed layer by layer, perhaps as snow accumulated over time, leading to ice sheets.

Researchers believe the ice formed relatively recently, because the sites appear smooth on the surface, unpocked by craters that would be formed by celestial debris smashing into the planet over time.

The cliffs are all near the poles, which slip into a frigid darkness during the Martian winter and would not be a suitable site for a long-term human camp.

However, if a sample could be drilled from one of the glaciers, researchers could learn plenty about Mars' climate history and the potential for life on Earth's neighboring planet.

NASA plans to send the first human explorers to Mars by the 2030s.

Read more on:    nasa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.