Deep within Mars' equator is what is believed to be a source of frozen water that, if it melted, would cover the entire planet in an ocean at least 5 feet deep. That depends European Space Agency, whose Mars Express spacecraft discovered the suspected reserve of water ice — the largest reserve discovered near the Red Planet's equator to date — while in orbit around Mars. “We don't expect to see a polar ice cap at the equator,” explains ESA project scientist Colin Wilson. euronews. “Interestingly, the radar signals match what we expect to see from ice sheets and are similar to the signals we see from the polar caps of Mars, which we know are very ice-rich,” says Thomas Waters of the Smithsonian Institution, lead author of the book. Study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
The good news is that there appears to be a lot of ice, about 2.3 miles thick, at lower latitudes, where future astronauts are expected to land. The bad news is that the sediments are “topped with a crust of hardened ash and dry dust” extending for hundreds of metres, each time. Space.com website. It is also “heavily polluted with dust.” Experts initially thought the frozen water might be dust when the Mars Express subsurface radar MARSIS first detected sediments beneath the Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF), a geological formation that separates the northern highlands from the southern lowlands, in 2007. But new observations suggest Something much more exciting lies in wait.
“Given how deep it is, if the MFF was just a giant pile of dust, we would expect it to become compressed under its own weight” and “create something much denser than what we actually see,” says study co-author Andrea. Cicchetti of the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics. The sediments appear low-density and somewhat transparent, which is consistent with other discoveries of frozen water on Mars. In fact, no models have been able to “reproduce the properties of MFF” without the use of ice, Cicchetti says, according to the BBC. Sky at night. The deposits could have formed when Mars' axial tilt (now 25 degrees) ranged from 10 to 60 degrees billions of years ago, according to Space.com. As the poles approached the sun, large amounts of water ice may have formed along the equator before being buried by volcanic ash. (Read more Martian stories.)
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