Massive Subsurface Ice Sheets Could Support Life on Mars

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The research, which was funded by NASA, was conducted by the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory along with the U.S. Geological Survey, the nonprofit Planetary Science Institute, Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas.

The underground cliffs, which have emerged after erosion, were captured in data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The newfound sheets appear to contain distinct layers, suggesting that studying them could shed considerable light on the Red Planet's climate history, researchers said.

Researchers are presently discussing the profitable data they may learn by penetrating a center out of one of these stores and taking it back to Earth.

The results revealed massive subsurface ice sheets on the planet extending from just below the surface to a depth of at least 100 meters (328ft). Their lower reaches were covered in rubble, making it hard to determine the total thickness of any ice deposits.

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"If we were to send humans to live on Mars for a substantial period of time, it would be a fantastic source of water", Balme said. Transporting water would be expensive: the heavier the payload atop a rocket, the more fuel is needed, which in turn increases the cost.

Scientists have been making claims over finding signs of life on Mars for quite some time now. It's been a big question, with hopes raised but then dashed over the years.

That said, it may not be all that easy to access the ice found in the new study.

Researchers using several satellites, including the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), have revealed eight locations of steep slopes, or scarps, all at mid-latitudes on the Red Planet.

The "game-changing" discovery could be vital to human explorers in the future, reported the USA journal Science yesterday.

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"This kind of ice is more widesp".

A scarp likely grows wider and taller as it "retreats", due to sublimation of the ice directly from solid form into water vapour.

The MRO, a spacecraft created to conduct reconnaissance and exploration of Mars from orbit, has been taking pictures to locate exposed ice in craters, glaciers and ice sheets.

Mars clearly had a watery past, and it's expected that much of the water is still on the planet.

The ice probably started as snowfall that compacted into massive fractured layers. The destinations, with their effortlessly available ice, are drawing consideration as conceivable spots to develop future bases.

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