Multiple Sites Found Rich in Water Ice on Mars

Erosion is exposing deposits of water ice on Mars, starting at depths as shallow as one to two meters below the surface and extending 100 meters or more. The ice is a critical target for science and exploration: it affects modern geomorphology, is expected to preserve a record of climate history, influences the planet’s habitability, and may be a potential resource for future exploration. Whilst water ice is known to be present in some locations on Mars, many questions remain about its layering, thickness, purity, and extent. Now, Colin Dundas and colleagues have pinpointed eight locations, using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), where steep, pole-facing slopes created by erosion expose substantial quantities of sub-surface ice. The fractures and steep angles indicate that the ice is cohesive and strong, the authors say. What’s more, bands and variations in color suggest that […]