Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: ESA

NASA finds 'water ice' just below the surface of Mars

The ice could be reached with a shovel, experts say.
11609 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

ESA

To explore the solar system beyond our planet, one important factor is the ability to locate water which can be used for drinking and for creating rocket fuel. To assist in the hunt for water on neighboring Mars, NASA has released a "treasure map" of potential ice locations on the red planet.

Researchers created the map of the Martian surface which shows where water ice (so-called because other chemical compounds can freeze) is believed to be located. In some places, the ice is as little as 2.5 centimeters below the surface, making it easily accessible to future visitors. Cool colors represent ice closer to the surface, while warm colors are ice deeper down.

Map of underground water ice on Mars

"You wouldn't need a backhoe to dig up this ice. You could use a shovel," the paper's lead author, Sylvain Piqueux of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a blog post. "We're continuing to collect data on buried ice on Mars, zeroing in on the best places for astronauts to land."

Locating reserves of ice is important to enable manned missions to the planet, and could help identify sites for projects like SpaceX's planned Mars base. Water is heavy to transport aboard rockets, so finding it on Mars could help humans survive there. However, because the planet has such a thin atmosphere, most water on the surface evaporates quickly.

We've known for a while that there's water on Mars in the form of ice. In 2008, NASA's Mars Phoenix lander discovered frozen water in a soil sample after landing on the planet a month earlier.

Looking below the Martian surface provides the best hope of finding accessible water ice, and that there may even be liquid water beneath the polar ice caps. With this new map, researchers have a blueprint for where to start planning missions and eventually sending astronauts to Mars.

Source: NASA
In this article: ice, mars, nasa, space, tomorrow
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
11609 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Apple says EU push for universal phone charger would 'stifle innovation'

Apple says EU push for universal phone charger would 'stifle innovation'

View
Sonos CEO: 'Legacy' devices will still work after May

Sonos CEO: 'Legacy' devices will still work after May

View
Bipartisan bill would scale back key section of the Patriot Act

Bipartisan bill would scale back key section of the Patriot Act

View
Teenage Engineering’s IKEA collection lands in stores next month

Teenage Engineering’s IKEA collection lands in stores next month

View
23andMe lays off 100 workers amid shrinking demand for DNA tests

23andMe lays off 100 workers amid shrinking demand for DNA tests

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr