Planning To Live On Mars? The Discovery Of Water On The Planet May Make That Possible
New images of Mars have revealed icy layers peeking out of sharp cliffs, which provides further proof that there are large water reserves on the red planet.
Researchers have been developing different methods to sustain human life on Mars, but the success of their various plans are contingent on the ease of accessibility to water.
“This is a new window into ground ice on Mars,” said Colin Dundas, who is one of the U.S. Geological Survey researchers who was involved in this recent discovery.
Back in 2002, the NASA Odyssey mission collected a lot of useful information on Mars, which helped scientists confirm that water is present on the planet. Then in 2008, scientists managed to dig up water ice, which was part of the NASA Phoenix mission.
Then in 2016, a buried ice sheet was discovered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The ice sheet contained as much water as Lake Superior, which was a major breakthrough.
These discoveries have supported the notion that there was large snowfall on Mars millions of years ago.
“[They are] very cool images that capture the subsurface ice predicted by theory,” said Bethany Ehlmann, who is a Caltech planetary scientist.
“Also, we may be able to core the ice for a record of climate change on recent Mars, much like we do on Earth,” she continued.
Capturing water on Mars is critically important to sustaining human life on the planet because it can be used to create water to drink, oxygen to breathe, and hydrogen to use as fuel.
“It’s looking more encouraging that water ice could be available at depths shallow enough that could be used as resources for human missions to Mars,” said Angel Abbud-Madrid who is the director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines.
However, despite this breakthrough, there’s still a lot of work to do before we see sustainable human settlements on the red planet.