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Scientists from the U.S. Geological survey found that under the surface of Mars to a depth of 1-2 meters lie vast reservoirs of pure water ice with a thickness of up to 100 meters. The discovery was made using interplanetary station Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which took pictures subjected to erosion of rocky ledges. Article researchers published in the journal Science.
It is known that Mars contains water in the form of ice, but it is mostly composed of permafrost (the cryosphere), mixed with dust, rocks and other inclusions. At mid-latitudes the proportion of water ice in the cryosphere is only 20 percent, but the researchers believe they have discovered a clean frozen water which might fit for human astronauts.
Experts have studied the exposed rocks with the help of the CRISM spectroscope and found that they contain frozen water. The data of the THEMIS system that determines the surface temperature, showed that the ice forms a relatively thick layer, not a thin crust.
According to researchers, the discovery shows that Mars has more water available than previously thought. It was believed that the ice is unstable at low latitudes, and rapidly sublimates, turning into steam. However, the occurrence at shallow depths, apparently, prevents the destruction layers. At the same time, the researchers observed active erosion of the cliffs, caused by the melting of the exposed ice layer.
Video, photo All from Russia.