Novel technique quickly maps young ice deposits and formations on Mars

October 8, 2018, Planetary Science Institute
Localization of the studied regions in the northern plains of Mars. Credit: Planetary Science Institute

A new investigative technique has shown the latitudinal distribution of ice-rich landforms on Mars. This large-scale study enables future, more detailed investigations to study several young deposits of ice and sediment in the north polar basin.

"The young ice deposits are extremely important for several reasons. First, they represent a different epoch in Mars' climate history when ice was stable at the mid-latitudes. We can probe them for more information and gather details about Mars climate," said Isaac B. Smith, Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and co-author of three new papers on the topic. "Second, if humans are to explore Mars, they will want to go to mid-latitude locations where the Sun is up all year. Identifying where the ice is supports that. Finally, astrobiologists are very interested in locations where ice and rock interact because it may offer clues about habitability."

The northern plains of Mars comprise several basins filled by sediments. The region has been proposed to have hosted an and currently contains ice in the ground even at latitudes where the ice is not stable. It is not known, however, what is the origin of the ice, whether it is related to the ancient ocean or recent glaciations. The ages of different surfaces and landforms are also not well known. Improving the geological context of the northern plains will help constrain outstanding questions about evolution of the climate and geology on Mars.

"We used this type of investigation to speed up the process of seeking ground ice. The team broke up very long sections into 20 kilometer by 20 kilometer squares. In their mapping, if they identified a type of feature, then the grid cell was checked," Smith said. "This sped up the process of interpreting huge areas by orders of magnitude. The benefit is that we can now trace the latitudinal placement of various features in a spatial context, useful for making conclusions about ground ice on Mars. This is also a powerful reference map for more detailed investigations."

Smith supported the research by providing information on what is found beneath the Martian surface using his analysis of data from NASA's Mars SHAllow RADar sounder (SHARAD) instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

"The team mapped surface morphology but had no subsurface information before I joined, so for each project I analyzed hundreds of SHARAD observations seeking subsurface reflectors that could spatially correlate to the surface morphology they were mapping," Smith said. "This increased confidence in their detections and provided thickness measurements for the ice that they found."

Explore further: 3-D analysis offers new info on Martian climate change, age of polar caps

More information: Csilla Orgel et al. Gridmapping the Northern Plains of Mars: A New Overview of Recent Water- and Ice-Related Landforms in Acidalia Planitia., Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (2018). DOI: 10.1029/2018JE005664

Jason D. Ramsdale et al. Gridmapping the northern plains of Mars: Geomorphological, Radar and Water-Equivalent Hydrogen results from Arcadia Plantia., Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (2018). DOI: 10.1029/2018JE005663

Antoine Séjourné et al. Grid-mapping the northern plains of Mars: using morphotype and distribution of ice-related landforms to understand multiple ice-rich deposits in Utopia Planitia, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (2018). DOI: 10.1029/2018JE005665

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1 / 5 (4) Oct 09, 2018
"It is not known, however, what is the origin of the ice"
When the evidence is completely ignored, such a phrase is created.

Mars does not have hydrogen and hydrogen compounds in the atmosphere and on the surface, meaning no water (in quantities that can be found).
"composition of atmosphere mostly (95,97%) consists of CO2 and that CO2 freezes at -56,6°C (CO2 has the melting point of -56,6°C (its triple point at 5,1 atm) and it evaporates at -78,5°C, Wikipedia), that the minimal temperature on Mars is -143°C and having seen the image showing a rock that consists of a sequence of thin leaflike layers, it can be determined, how the processes of CO2 occur on Mars.
During night, in the region outside the polar circle, CO2 from the atmosphere gets frozen and creates a thin crust, which is covered by sand,"
2.6 / 5 (7) Oct 09, 2018
During night, in the region outside the polar circle, CO2 from the atmosphere gets frozen and creates a thin crust, which is covered by sand
This not observed by the rovers actually on the planet. Get it? - NOT OBSERVED. But don't let that little fact get in the way of your daydreaming...
4 / 5 (2) Oct 09, 2018
duck, you are confusing that the article is specifically discussing ice left behind when the ancient Martian hydrosphere of several billion years ago. Much, maybe most, sublimated away over the last few billion years as the ancient protective atmosphere disappeared.

When I saw the headline, I jumped to the hopeful assumption, that by "young" ice the writer meant "recent" ice. Reading the article clarified my confusion to reveal that the writer meant "young" ice to mean "ancient" ice.

Previously, I had speculated that the ice observed on Mars was "recent" from icebergs, comets and other debris raining down on Mars within the last few million years.

However I was corrected, informed that the isotopes of water on Mars are different from the space-borne varieties.


Oh well, if there is no decent canoeing or fishing? Can't say as I'd be interested visiting anyway.
1 / 5 (4) Oct 09, 2018
Actually you are wrong. Rover explored frozen sand and were uncomfortable surprised that it was not water (a thousand times). The article was published here, but you are reading slelektivno and remember selectively and immediately forget.
@no wills rr
It's easy to talk about fairy tales, it's hard for fairy tales to find evidence. All evidence confirmed that there was no water (to date), that the atmosphere did not disappear. There is no water vapor because no particles of H2O are present in the atmosphere.
"On June 7th of 2018, NASA disclosed in a press conference that its Curiosityrover had documented seasonal fluctuations of atmospheric methane levels on Mars. These fluctuations peaked at the end of the Martian summer at 0.6 parts per billion." https://en.wikipe..._methane
2 / 5 (4) Oct 09, 2018
Mars does not have hydrogen and hydrogen compounds in the atmosphere and on the surface, meaning no water (in quantities that can be found).

Bullsh!t. What did the Phoenix lander find?

And what did Mars Odyssey find?

Why do you cranks always have to lie? Patho-frigging-logical, in my opinion.

2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 09, 2018
The three papers are a massive tour de force, lots of authors and data and some primary analysis finding subsurface ice in the comfort zone of SpaceX (or even NASA) between 30 and 60 deg latitude. Looking forward to the summary paper they promise!

{q]no water (in quantities that can be found)

Mars mantle is not as water rich as Earth, but it once had enough water for an ocean some hundreds of meters deep. Much of it was lost with the atmosphere, but polar ices and some subsurface ices are readily seen even if we do not know their history. It made news recently when they found evidence for a subsurface lake!

1 / 5 (1) Oct 10, 2018

A story for little children or fairy tale propaganda. I remember those stories well. Then I believed in the texts from NASA. All the stories are down to one: to date, no drop of water has been found.
"A new paper published in Science this week suggests that liquid water"
Another desire for sensation from which distances itself NASA. In the article, I attached the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the surface of Mars. There is no hydrogen. There is no water without hydrogen.
The people at the mention of the water, immediately forget the evidence and the real world. The story of the water has hypnotic effect on readers who do not want to live in reality. Remember the stories:https://www.svemi...-correct

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