Martian Ice Newly Detected, Could Supply Water for Human Outposts

Eight scarps with slopes as steep as 55 degrees reveal new information about the internal layered structure of previously detected underground ice sheets in Mars’ middle latitudes Nasa said

According to National Geographic "human missions to Mars would likely rely on extracting water from the local environment, either baking it out of hydrated minerals or mining it from ice deposits".

"It was surprising to find ice exposed at the surface at these places".

Scientists have discovered big ice sheets just below the surface of Mars.

Mars ice cliffs could be key to supporting life on Red Planet Mars has ice sheets more than 100 meters deep hiding beneath its red dust, offering a potential water source for future explorers of the Red Planet, according to new research.

The discovery is particularly exciting for future human exploration of the planet previously renowned for its dry arid landscape.

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Scientists examining the images send back by MRO have found eight different locations on Mars that reveal enormous deposits of nearly pure water ice, which lie just 2 metres (6.5 feet) below the surface.

The ice sheets deposits were found at the geological formations with latitudes of around 55 degrees to 58 degrees located in the southern and northern hemisphere.

"We've found a new window into the ice for study, which we hope will be of interest to those interested in all aspects of ice on Mars and its history, " The Washington Post reported quoting Colin Dundas, a member of the US Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center in Arizona and an author of a report published Thursday in the journal Science. By combining different images together, as shown above, the composite images can reveal the subtle differences in how the surface absorbs and reflects light, and thus provide information about what makes up the surface. (We've previously known about shallow subsurface ice from multiple lines of evidence). They used MRO's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) to verify that these locations revealed the spectral signature of water.

"Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need", Byrne said. "You don't see a high-tech solution", Byrne added.

The authors of the study have said that the latest discovery will be helpful for the establishment of a base on the Red Planet, as the water could be used for drinking, potentially create oxygen and fuel.

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