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posted by mrpg on Friday January 12 2018, @01:10AM   Printer-friendly
from the cold-as-ice dept.

Buried glaciers have been spotted on Mars, offering new hints about how much water may be accessible on the Red Planet and where it is located, researchers said Thursday.

Although ice has long been known to exist on Mars, a better understanding of its depth and location could be vital to future human explorers, said the report in the US journal Science.

[...] Scientists have not determined how these particular scarps initially form. However, once the buried ice becomes exposed to Mars' atmosphere, a scarp likely grows wider and taller as it "retreats," due to sublimation of the ice directly from solid form into water vapor. At some of them, the exposed deposit of water ice is more than 100 yards, or meter[sic], thick. Examination of some of the scarps with MRO's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) confirmed that the bright material is frozen water. A check of the surface temperature using Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera helped researchers determine they're not seeing just thin frost covering the ground.

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Friday January 12 2018, @01:39AM (2 children)

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 12 2018, @01:39AM (#621220) Journal

    Trouble is, if we use that water in any useful way, we will surely end up letting it all sublimate away, by carelessness or accident.

    Liquid water is not expected to be found until you drill down to depths of 4 km in equatorial regions, deepening to 5-6 km in
    temperate zones before plunging to over 15 km in polar regions.

    There's no way to pump water back underground for natural filtration as happens here on earth. It will freeze, first.
    If left on the surface it will sublimate into space.

    Once we touch ice and melt it, we have to take care of it forever.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bob_super on Friday January 12 2018, @01:47AM

    by bob_super (1357) on Friday January 12 2018, @01:47AM (#621223)

    Well, the people at NASA have a better track record at being careful with finite resources than your average Taliban. And they current track record is to leave more stuff on other bodies than they take.
    But then again Musk is the kind to chuck a perfectly functional car out in space just for giggles ...

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12 2018, @03:55AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12 2018, @03:55AM (#621248)

    Once we touch ice and melt it, we have to take care of it forever.

    Are we talking about ice, or is this a metaphor for Milo Youdontouchmystuffious?