An Icy Red Planet


A recent discovery on the Red Planet has led people to question just how capable Mars might be of sustaining life. A slope that rises higher than Big Ben in London has discovered on the planet not long ago, and beneath the layer of dirt sits a large, 300 feet thick sheet of ice, which gives the red of the planet a more blue-black hue. Their geological features are being called scarps by scientists, and they are at least eight of them on Mars right now. Thick ice is simply hiding underneath the red surface of the planet, which makes this planet even more of a potential exploration target in the future. It might even be a place for those of us on Earth to have a campout on the planet.

Honestly, it isn’t new news that Mars has icy spots. 2001 brought about the snooping of ice’s chemical signatures on the planet by the one and the only, Mars Odyssey. Through the use of the gamma-ray spectrometer, the Mars Odyssey discovered hydrogen, which is a telltale sign of ice in large amounts. In fact, at least one-third of the surface of Mars contains at least a bit of shallow ice. However, just the sensing of hydrogen gave scientists no indication of just how thick that ice is.

When the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter made a map of the surface of Mars in much great detail than ever before, several scientists, like Dundas, used the various pictures to help locate the exposed ice in craters, ice sheets, and even glaciers. Because of the high-resolution data of this new Mars orbiter, they were able to see the ice covered landforms.

The quick glimpses into the subsurface of the Red Planet, which has long been anticipated as being able to sustain life, has given scientists all over the world a fantastic and rare find. The ice on Mars is going to change the face of history as we know it, and this discovery might even lead to further exploration of the mysterious planet. When you get to see into the undisturbed parts of a planet not your own, it raises questions and motivation to keep exploring just to find out more.

This incredible and recent discovery is going to have all eyes on Mars for quite some time as scientists attempt to go deeper into the Red Planet’s surface and try to discover more about the planet than ever before.


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