Huge Underground Ice Sheets Discovered on Mars

A close-up of the false colour portion of the above image focusing in on the scarp to reveal the details. Credit NASA  JPL-Caltech  UA  USGS

The frozen water near the Martian surface was detected using images from NASA spacecraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter now orbiting Mars.

Underground ice found beneath Mars' surface extending to its middle latitude. Now, Colin Dundas and colleagues have pinpointed eight locations, using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), where steep, pole-facing slopes created by erosion expose substantial quantities of sub-surface ice.

Finding water or ice on Mars is becoming fairly commonplace these days, but this is a new one: researchers are reporting that they've spotted tall cliffs, up to 100 metres (328 feet) high, made of almost pure water ice in several locations on Mars!

"Here we have what we think is nearly pure water ice buried just below the surface". A study published Thursday by the journal Science contends this is a "game changer" for future human outposts.

The deposits were found at seven geological formations called scarps, with slopes up to 55 degrees, in the southern hemisphere and one in the northern hemisphere. However, previous scans using the MRO's Shallow Radar instrument were not enough to determine the extent and make-up of ice on the Red Planet.


The ice sheets which appeared bluish in the high-resolution images, looked like steep cliffs of glaciers, up to 100 meters tall. "In the mid-latitudes, it's normally covered by a blanket of dust or regolith", loose bits of rock atop a layer of bedrock, said research geologist Colin Dundas of the US Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, who led the study.

Shayne Byrne of the University of Arizona Luna and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson said the discovery was like looking at an ant farm from a glass on the side and seeing what's hidden beneath the ground. A scarp likely grows wider and taller as it "retreats", due to sublimation of the ice directly from solid form into water vapour.

Scientists have always believed that a third of Martian surface contains shallow ground ice, but the latest discovery of huge ice sheets in at least eight sites serves is sort of a "game-changer".

A lander or rover sent to drill down into one of these locations could provide us with a detailed chronology of Mars' past climate, and according to Byrne, "Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need". The size of the deposit, however, means that it will be a very long time before it completely sublimates into the atmosphere.

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

Related News:

  • Death of judge hearing Sohrabuddin Sheikh case: SC to hear matter tomorrow

    To this, he said "the Bombay High Court is seized of the matter and in my opinion the Supreme Court should not hear this matter. If the court goes ahead with the hearing, it may have implications before the high court", the Hindu reported Dave as saying.
    'We feel betrayed' says Pakistani Army on U.S.  move to cut aid

    'We feel betrayed' says Pakistani Army on U.S. move to cut aid

    Also in question is nearly $1 billion of United States military equipment that has allowed Pakistan access to advanced military technology.

    BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson reveals his Premier League predictions for GW23

    His ankles are good, we can not say he has bad ankles now, but because of his history we always make a bit more of it. The future of Sanchez is up in the air but he did feature from the bench against the Blues on Wednesday night.
  • Kashmiri militants are our brothers: PDP MLA

    Kashmiri militants are our brothers: PDP MLA

    If you have noticed we haven't put up a paywall unlike many news organisations, - as we want to keep our journalism open. Strongly condemning the PDP lawmaker's statement, Pradesh Bhartiya Janata Party demanded lodging of FIR against the Mir.

    Stocks to Track: Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX), Facebook, Inc. (FB)

    Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 24,201 shares of the company's stock, valued at approximately $671,335.74. California Employees Retirement Sys holds 0.01% in Portland General Electric Company (NYSE:POR) or 181,813 shares.

    What's Next for Immigration Reform After Trump Profanity?

    At first, he admitted he had used " tough " language, yet simultaneously denied using the exact words the media was reporting on. Trump, who grew up in a Presbyterian family, shot back saying it was "disgraceful" for the pope to question his faith.
  • NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

    After $1.27 actual EPS reported by NXP Semiconductors N.V. for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts 26.77% EPS growth. Tiaa Cref Invest Management Ltd Limited Liability Company has 0% invested in BroadSoft, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) or 220 shares.
    Naby Keita to Liverpool: Possible shirt numbers for new arrival

    Naby Keita to Liverpool: Possible shirt numbers for new arrival

    Naby Keita will not be allowed to join Liverpool this month, according to RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl. Leipzig had initially taken a hard stance to the move, denying that they had any need to sell him.

    Trump's Lawyer Is Now Suing BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS Over Steele Dossier

    Simpson had called for the release of his testimony to the public. He said the president's golf clubs aren't making much money.
  • Ayalon Holdings Ltd. Increases Position in Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA)

    Brean Capital maintained Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA ) on Friday, August 12 with "Buy" rating. Investors purchased shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA ) on weakness during trading on Friday.
    Pacer-Friendly Pitch to be on Offer in Centurion Test

    Pacer-Friendly Pitch to be on Offer in Centurion Test

    Brief scores: South Africa 1st innings: 78 for no loss in 27 overs (Aiden Markram batting 51, Dean Elgar batting 26). On the other hand, Shikar Dhawan was found wanting in both the innings and might be replaced with young KL Rahul.
    Europe trailing by one shot in EurAsia Cup after mediocre day one

    Europe trailing by one shot in EurAsia Cup after mediocre day one

    Alex Noren and Paul Dunne also lost against Hideo Tanihara and Phachara Khongwatmai by two shots putting Asia in comfortable position.


Most liked

Tonya Harding admits that she knew of plan to attack Nancy Kerrigan
Harding didn't deny the incident helped create more of a buzz around US women's figure skating. I could care less about that movie than the dirt outside".

FDA warns against giving kids cough and cold medicines with codeine, hydrocodone
The FDA says treating sick children with medicines that contain opioids poses "serious risks that don't justify their use". Some products sold over-the-counter in a few states may contain codeine or may not be appropriate for young children.

Students expressed concern over no or little gap in board exam dates
In class X datesheet the students have only one complaint of and social science subject having one day gap. As per the datesheet, history paper is scheduled on March 20 followed by mathematics on March 21.

The Coca-Cola Co (KO) Stake Raised by Candriam Luxembourg SCA
Barnett accumulated 57,450 shares. 401.33 million shares or 2.97% more from 389.74 million shares in 2017Q2 were reported. Hbk Sorce Advisory Limited Liability Company reported 65,545 shares stake. 24,056 are held by Penobscot Investment Inc.

CES: Intel To Broadcast The Olympic Winter Games In VR
It is high risk, it has high reward, it has high stakes in a very competitive arena. This year's Winter Olympics will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea .

South Korea proposes talks on North's participation in winter Olympics
However, the International Olympic Committee has said it will consider offering wildcards to North Korean athletes. South Korea is grouped with Sweden, Switzerland and Japan in the women's tournament.

Kerber, Barty in Sydney final
The result marked the eighth successive singles win for Kerber, whose 2018 resurgence should ensure a quality showdown against Australia's rapidly rising star.

OPEC not interested in oil price more than 60 $ pb
China, by far Asia's biggest oil consumer, is now producing so much fuel that its refiners have turned to exports to find buyers. The average production in 2019 will rise 580,000 bpd to 10.85 million bpd, the agency said in its first outlook for next year.

NFL Divisional Playoff Preview: Titans at Patriots
Rob Gronkowski (69 catches, 1,084 yards, eight TDs) will be a handful for a team that usually struggles to cover the tight end. The Titans believe, based on his performance in Kansas City, that Mariota has put his sub-par regular season behind him.

'Arrogant' surgeon burned his initials onto patients' livers during transplants
I accept that on both occasions you were exhausted and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgment. Patient A said she was shocked to discover Bramhall had branded his initials on her during a life-saving operation.

Steyn may not bowl again in Test series against India
South African team doctor Mohammed Moosajee said Steyn was keen to return to cricket and would see a specialist on Sunday. Steyn suffered a heel injury on Saturday at Newlands where South Africa are hosting India in the first Test.

Raptors bench runs wild on Cavaliers
IN outscored Cleveland 32-16 in the third quarter to erase a 14-point halftime deficit and take a 76-74 lead after three quarters. Toronto lost to Golden State 117-112 in Oakland, Calif., on October 25, just the fourth game of the season for the Raptors.

Delhi: NRI Google techie arrested for molesting U.S. woman
On January 10, she approached the police with a complaint, following which a case was registered and the accused was arrested. Following the complaint by the victim, Kharbanda was arrested from the hotel after being interrogated.

United States Steel Corporation (X) EPS Estimated At $0.63
The company's shares were assimilated at $3.12 per share worth to an investment of some $15,600 on account of Newport Roger K. It is positive, as 17 investors sold KEM shares while 22 reduced holdings. 76 funds opened positions while 330 raised stakes.

Police chase involving Greyhound bus ends in Lake County
Traffic was closed in both directiions on the interstate while police continue to investigate, the Daily Herald reported . A person on the Greyhound bus made threats to harm passengers according to public safety radio transmissions.