UNDERGROUND ice supplies have been discovered on Mars which could provide unlimited water for humans looking to colonise the Red Planet.
Some of the “pure” frozen sheets are believed to be about 100 meters thick while others are buried just one meter below the dusty surface.
Reuters Some of the ‘pure’ water ice sheets were around 10 metres thick Getty – Contributor The ice could supply unlimited water for future colonists
Although scientists knew ice existed on Mars, the new discovery shows just how much of it there is and how accessible it is for astronauts.
The sheer size of the ice sheets could help scientists better understand the history of Mars and its climate, NASA said in a new report.
“Humans need water wherever they go, and it’s very heavy to carry with you,” said Shane Byrne of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Tucson, a co-author of the report.
“Previous ideas for extracting human-usable water from Mars were to pull it from the very dry atmosphere or to break down water-containing rocks. Here we have what we think is almost pure water ice buried just below the surface.
AFP The glaciers offer new hints about how much water may be accessible Getty – Contributor Scientists analysed data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
“You can go out with a bucket and shovel and just collect as much water as you need. I think it’s sort of a game-changer.
“It’s also much closer to places humans would probably land as opposed to the polar caps, which are very inhospitable.”
The sites are in both northern and southern hemispheres of Mars, at latitudes from about 55 to 58 degrees, equivalent on Earth to Scotland or the tip of South America.
A team of scientists, led by Colin Dundas, of the US Geological Survey, analysed data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), specifically looking at eight areas where erosion occurred. UFO fans think this object on Mars is a metal cannonball and that it’s proof of an ancient war on the Red Planet
The results revealed massive subsurface ice sheets on the planet extending from just below the surface to a depth of at least 100 meters (328ft).
The remarkable ice cliffs appear to contain distinct layers, which could preserve a record of Mars’ past climate, according to the report.
Scientists say an analysis of the deposits would unleash a treasure trove of information to geologists about the past Martian climate.
“That preserved record would be of extreme importance to go back to,” G. Scott Hubbard, a space scientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California told Science.