Wednesday, April 8, 2015

MARS: The Next Frontier - Glacial Belts Of Water Ice Found On Mars!

Jason Major/Flickr

April 8, 2015 - MARS
 - Using radar measurements from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, researchers have been able to determine that belts of glaciers, making up 150 Billion cubic meters of water ice, encircle the Red Planet.

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have used radar observations spanning ten years to determine how thick the glacier formations are. Nanna Bjørnholt Karlsson of the Centre for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute there explained that previous data listed thousands of glacier-like formations on the planet, but that data didn’t indicate how much ice there was.


The HiRISE, which has collected enough data for researchers to make determinations on the amount of ice within Mars, being prepared to be attached to a spacecraft.
The HiRISE, which has collected enough data for researchers to make determinations on the amount of ice within Mars,
being prepared to be attached to a spacecraft.    © Wikipedia/ NASA

“We have looked at radar measurements spanning ten years back in time to see how thick the ice is and how it behaves. A glacier is after all a big chunk of ice and it flows and gets a form that tells us something about how soft it is. We then compared this with how glaciers on Earth behave and from that we have been able to make models for the ice flow," Bjørnholt Karlsson told Phys.org.


The HiRISE, which has collected enough data for researchers to make determinations on the amount of ice within Mars, being prepared to be attached to a spacecraft.
Close-up of two glacier formations taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Bjørnholt Karlsson said the glaciers, found in the planet’s northern and southern hemispheres, are arranged in belt patterns around Mars between latitudes 300-500, which on Earth is just south of Denmark’s position.

WATCH: Mars Glaciers and Brain Terrain.



While some locations on Mars have been mapped with high-resolution data, other regions of the planet’s surface have not been documented so well. So scientists have supplemented the sparse data with information about the formation and flow of the water-ice glaciers in the well-studied regions to calculate the total volume and thickness of the ice.


The HiRISE, which has collected enough data for researchers to make determinations on the amount of ice within Mars, being prepared to be attached to a spacecraft.
 Another Glacier formation taken by HiRISE.  © YOUTUBE/The Mars Underground (Screenshot taken from NASA)

"We have calculated that the ice in the glaciers is equivalent to over 150 billion cubic meters of ice – that much ice could cover the entire surface of Mars with 1.1 meters of ice. The ice at the mid-latitudes is therefore an important part of Mars' water reservoir," explained Bjørnholt Karlsson.

Thick layers of dust on Mars’ surface have until now obscured the ice formations, making them look like the surface of the ground. But scientists say the dust may also be protecting the glacial formations, preventing the ice from evaporating into space. - Sputnik News.



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