Newly found layers of ice buried a mile beneath Mars’ north pole are the remnants of historic polar ice sheets and may very well be one of many largest water reservoirs on the planet, based on scientists at The College of Texas at Austin and the College of Arizona.
The crew made the invention utilizing measurements gathered by the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). SHARAD emits radar waves that may penetrate as much as a mile and a half beneath the floor of Mars.
The findings, revealed May 22 in Geophysical Analysis Letters, are essential as a result of the layers of ice are a document of previous local weather on Mars in a lot the identical manner that tree rings are a file of previous local weather on Earth. Finding out the geometry and composition of those layers might inform scientists whether or not local weather circumstances have been beforehand favorable for all times, researchers stated. The staff discovered layers of sand and ice that had been as a lot as 90% water in some locations.
If melted, the newly found polar ice could be equal to a worldwide layer of water round Mars at the least 1.5 meters (5 feet) deep.
The findings have been corroborated by an unbiased examine utilizing gravity information as an alternative of radar, led by researchers at Johns Hopkins College. Nerozzi was a co-creator. The papers have been printed concurrently in Geophysical Analysis Letters.
The authors assume that the layers fashioned when ice gathered on the poles throughout previous ice ages on Mars. Every time the planet warmed, a remnant of the ice caps grew to become lined by sand, which protected the ice from photo voltaic radiation and prevented it from dissipating into the environment.