حفلة 2024

Remains of ancient glacier found on Mars

Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas announced on Wednesday the remains of a glacier have been found near the Martian equator. These findings suggest a form of water may exist on the planet.

Although the ice mass no longer exists, remains of it were found among other mineral deposits. “What we’ve found is not ice, but a salt deposit with the detailed morphologic features of a glacier,” lead study author Pascal Lee, stated.

Lee elaborated that “a relatively young relict glacier in this location tells us that Mars experienced surface ice in recent times, even near the equator, which is new.”

Researchers believe a top coat of salt preserved the glacier beneath it. It is believed it was six kilometres long and about four kilometres wide, with an elevation between 1.3 to 1.7 kilometres.

It is also believed the glacier existed during the Mars Amazonian geologic period. This period began 2.9 billion years ago and remains ongoing.

The research team studied ancient ice islands called Salars in Bolivia’s Altiplano salt flats in South America. This led scientists to believe a similar scenario occurred on the red planet.

They are still trying to determine the amount of ice remaining from the glacier, if any.

Lee explained that exploration missions are usually driven by the desire to find a suitable habitat for humans to land. In such environment, they would be able to extract water from ice.

Furthermore, if ice was found at a shallow depth, it would mean missions do not necessarily have to work in higher latitude sites, where it is typically colder and more challenging for humans and robots.

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