Science

Water ice found under the dusty surface of Mars could help astronauts in future missions

Water found under the Martian surface could be a great help to astronauts on future missions. Taking everything an astronaut needs on Mars is quite tricky. Moreover, the weight of the material, along with the crew, defies current technology. NASA discussed a mission to deliver materials to the red planet ahead of a crewed mission. However, now there might be some resources on Mars that can be useful to astronauts. One of the resources is Water. Access to the Water on Mars is essential to determine to help identify a landing site for a crewed mission. The new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters this week shows a map of water ice on Mars. This water ice could be just an inch below the dusty surface of the Red planet.

The robots and rovers of NASA have been investigating the surface of the red planet for years now. Collecting data from the surface of Mars in the form of images is helpful to determine the environmental conditions of the red planet. Hence, the data from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Odyssey Orbiter of NASA came significantly beneficial to detect the sign of water ice beneath the surface. Sylvain Piqueux, a study author at NASA’s jet propulsion lab, said that there is no need for a backhoe to dig up the ice. Further, he said, “We’re continuing to collect data on buried ice on Mars, zeroing in on the best places for astronauts to land.”

According to the research, Mars was a warm planet once that could support life and Water on its surface. However, Mars lost its atmosphere of about 3.5 billion years ago. Now, only a thin layer of the atmosphere exists today on the red planet. This thin layer of atmosphere allows water vapor to escape. Still, Water exists on Mars in the form of ice under the dusty surface. This icy Water on Mars is present both near the poles and near the planet’s mid-latitude. Phoenix Lander of NASA was able to scrape and sample the ice at poles to confirm that it was icy Water in 2008. Researchers used a gamma-ray spectrometer of Odyssey orbiter to develop a map of water ice on Mars.

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