Monday, September 21, 2009

Water Ice in Mars

NASA Scientists have discovered water ice on the surface craters of Mars. Scientists controlling instruments on the orbiter found bright ice exposed at five Martian sites with new craters that range in depth from approximately half a meter to 2.5 meters. The craters did not exist in earlier images of the same sites. Some of the craters show a thin layer of bright ice atop darker underlying material.

The bright patches darkened in the weeks following initial observations, as the freshly exposed ice vaporized into the thin Martian atmosphere. One of the new craters had a bright patch of material large enough for one of the orbiter's instruments to confirm it is water-ice. The finds indicate water-ice occurs beneath Mars' surface halfway between the north pole and the equator, a lower latitude than expected in the Martian climate.