NASA is currently working on finding water on the red planet. (Image source: NASA)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) takes a step ahead in its Mars mission. The agency is undoubtedly moving in the right direction as it finds traces of water ice beneath the surface of the red planet. NASA is currently working on finding locations of water on Mars so that its astronauts can survive when they reach the planet in the years to come.
Earlier this week, NASA quoted a research paper published in American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters and said that it will help them accomplish the Mars mission. The agency believes that the paper will assist them to find water ice locations when they reach the red planet. The research notes that water ice deposits have been found around one inch below the surface of Mars in several locations. The paper also hints that there is water ice all across the Martian poles and mid-latitudes.
Due to less air pressure in Martian atmosphere water can't last for very long on the surface of Mars and evaporates from solid to gas in the blink of an eye. This is the reason water ice deposits of Mars are located below the surface and not above. Under the ground is the only place where the water ice can survive.
In an official blog post, NASA notes, “Martian water ice is locked away underground throughout the planet's mid-latitudes.” It further writes, “These regions near the poles have been studied by NASA's Phoenix lander, which scraped up ice, and MRO, which has taken many images from space of meteor impacts that have excavated this ice. To find ice that astronauts could easily dig up, the study's authors relied on two heat-sensitive instruments: MRO's Mars Climate Sounder and the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera on Mars Odyssey.”
Sylvain Piqueux of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said in the paper, "You wouldn't need a backhoe to dig up this ice. You could use a shovel." Yes, water ice is so close to the surface of Mars. Sylvain further said, "We're continuing to collect data on buried ice on Mars, zeroing in on the best places for astronauts to land."
Another research paper called Arcadia Planitia reveals that a region shaped by ancient lava flows on Mars can be a good location for the landing of astronauts as it has lots of water ice that can be used instead of carrying water from Earth.
Research around water ice is still ongoing. Currently, the researchers want to continue to study the underground water ice on Mars and record the change that happens in different seasons.