Beneath the surface of the north pole of Mars discovered huge reserves of water ice

American astronomers reported they had found a new hiding place with significant reserves of water ice at a depth of about one and a half kilometers beneath the surface of the north pole of Mars. Scientists believe that this ice is remnants of ancient polar ice sheet and is the largest accumulation of water on mars. About his discovery, researchers reported in an article published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Beneath the surface of the north pole of Mars discovered huge reserves of water ice

made a discovery group of scientists from Texas A & M and the University of Arizona to help radar SHARAD (Shallow Subsurface Radar), mounted on Orbital interplanetary spacecraft NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is located at the Red Planet in 2006 and has now completed 60,000 orbital overflights of our planetary neighbor. Radar working in a high-frequency radio band from 15 to 25 MHz and is capable of collecting data about the structure of Mars subsurface to a depth of more than 2, 5 kilometers. The device was developed by scientists at the Italian Space Agency. It has shown that in some layers under the north pole ice content reaches 90%. These radar observations were analyzed and verified through independent study using gravity data.

"We did not expect to find here so much water ice. This probably makes it the third largest accumulation of water on Mars after the polar ice caps, "- commented on the opening lead author Stefano Nerotstsi from the Institute of Geophysics of the University of Texas.

Reserve really huge, the researchers note. They explain that if the ice melts, the whole of Mars is covered with a layer of water, the depth of half a meter.

The researchers suggest that the layers were formed when the ice accumulated at the poles of Mars during the last ice age millions of years ago. Each time the planet is warming, the remnants of the ice caps covered with sand, which protected the ice from the solar radiation and let it dissipate into the atmosphere.

Scientists have long known that Mars stories glacial periods occur periodically due to changes in its orbit, and the axis of tilt. Approximately every 50,000 years the planet is tilted toward the sun, and then gradually returned to an upright position. When the vertical axis of rotation of the planet closest to the sun are the equatorial region, and the poles may accumulate ice. When Mars is tilted, the ice caps are gradually reduced and may disappear completely. But until now it was thought that no evidence of previous glaciations did not survive. The researchers note that the study of the structure and composition of these ice deposits will help to establish what was the climate of Mars in the distant past, as well as a more complete map the planet's water resources. This information can be very important, not only because the future of humanity is planning to colonize the planet, but also because the presence of water can indicate the presence of traces of life on the Red Planet.

"If one day we want to get water on Mars, very important for us to understand what its reserves in the past were available on the planet on a global scale, and how much of it could be preserved in its polar regions. You can have all the favorable conditions for life, but if the main water reserves are concentrated at the poles, the life that could be closer to the equator, there may be a shortage of it ", - says Nerotstsi.

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