Scientists have made a surprising discovery on Mars, namely that water-ice appears to be present under the surface in some regions near its equator.
The discovery, led by Jack Wilson from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, was made by looking at old data from NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft. The findings are published in the journal Icarus.
— Maxime Duprez (@maximaxoo) October 1, 2017
This, in short, changes a lot of things. Currently, the understanding of the planet isn’t exactly down to a T, but water is thought not to be thermodynamically stable at low altitudes.
Thanks to modern technology, Wilson and his team could reduce the ‘noise’ on the photographs from between 2002 and 2009, making them much clearer and easier to study.
“It was as if we’d cut the spacecraft’s orbital altitude in half, and it gave us a much better view of what’s happening on the surface,” Wilson told NASA.
“Perhaps the signature could be explained in terms of extensive deposits of hydrated salts, but how these hydrated salts came to be in the formation is also difficult to explain.
“So for now, the signature remains a mystery worthy of further study, and Mars continues to surprise us.”
— Mark Hilverda (@markhilverda) October 2, 2017
The scientists claimed that they have found high levels of hydrogen in the area, suggesting the presence of water ice.
In 2002, following the Mars Odyssey spacecraft’s mission it was believed to be impossible to find water ice at low altitudes. This does still leave a lot of detail shrouded in mystery, which means yet more research will have to be done to fully understand the Red Planet.
Recently NASA outlined their five-phase plan to put a man on Mars. Currently we’re in Phase 0, whereby tests are being conducted on the International Space Station (ISS). Phase I, according to Futurism, will be between 2018 and 2025 and will include the launch and testing of six SLS rockets.
Those rockets will be sent to the Deep Space Gateway (DSG), a space station on the moon that will serve as a sort of service station for astronauts en route to Mars.
Phase II, in 2027, will consist of launching the Deep Space Transport (DST) tube toward the lunar station, Futurism continues, echoing something off a level on video game Dead Space. Eventually, in the years to follow, astronauts will inhabit the tube for 400 days.
Entering Phase III, in 2030, the DST will be restocked with supplies and the Mars crew via SLS rocket, with Phase IV being the trip itself in 2033.