Here's how it works on Mars: When the planet is farther from the sun in its orbit, and it snows, that snow remains on the surface and becomes a buildup of ice.
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. This means that relatively pure water ice, capped by only a thin layer of ice-cemented rock and dust, may be readily accessible to future exploration missions.
Researchers already knew that Mars harbors subsurface water ice, and lots of it.
The analysts saw that a portion of the cool, dry slopes on Mars have normally disintegrated to uncover tremendous stores of ice, some of them more than 100 meters thick (around 330 feet). "Our research may be useful information but it will be up to them to determine how to use it". These locations were not found on Mars' polar ice caps, where "hostile conditions" would prevent astronauts from scavenging the Martian ice, but in more friendly areas, NASA said.
"Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need", says Byrne.
Scientists usually say Mars must have had a thicker atmosphere in the past that was lost to space; NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft is at the Red Planet looking at atmospheric loss. Fours years later, scientists presented evidence that the streaks were caused by hydrated minerals that flowed down the slopes in the Martian warm seasons.
Mars clearly had a watery past, and it's expected that much of the water is still on the planet. Dundas and co-authors say that banding and color variations apparent in some of the scarps suggest layers "possibly deposited with changes in the proportion of ice and dust under varying climate conditions".
Satellite imaging has confirmed that vast glaciers of ice exist just a metre below the surface, and continue to a depth of a hundred metres or more below that.
"It's part of the whole story of what happens to water on Mars over time: Where does it go?"
And the erosion that's taking place is changing the Martian landscape.
In addition, any future exploration and settlement of Mars may rely on ice deposits such as these as a source of water. The scarps are actively retreating because of sublimation of the exposed water ice.
What's more, in light of the fact that the precarious slant demonstrated the ice's vertical structure, the cross-segment likewise recounts an anecdote about their history.