Huge Martian Ice Discovery Mirrors The Planet’s Past Climate

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A new Martian discovery shows some exciting details regarding the Red Planet’s history.

Some newly discovered layers of ice that are buried a mile beneath Mars’ north pole are the remnants of ancient polar ice sheets and could be one of the largest water reservoirs on the Red Planet, report the scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Arizona.

The team of experts has made the discovery using measurements that have been gathered by the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

SHARAD emits radar waves that are able to penetrate up to a mile and a half beneath the surface of the Red Planet.

A record of past climate on Mars

Phys.org notes that the discovery has been published in Geophysical Research Letters, and these are essential because the layers of ice are a record of the past climate on the Red Planet.

The publication makes a comparison to the tree rings and how they are a record of past climate here on our own planet.

It seems that the team of experts has found layers of sand and ice that were as much as 90% water in some locations.

Global layer of water around Mars

The online publication mentioned above noted the fact that if the newly discovered polar ice were to be melted, it would be equivalent to a global layer of water around Mars at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) deep.

“We didn’t expect to find this much water ice here,” said lead author Stefano Nerozzi. He continued and explained, “That likely makes it the third largest water reservoir on Mars after the polar ice caps.”

According to the experts, the layers have been formed when ice accumulated at the poles on Mars during the past ice ages on the Red Planet.

Until this very moment, scientists have believed that the ancient ice caps on Mars are gone. Read more interesting details in the original article.


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