Ice beneath utopia


Ground-penetrating radar found loads of buried Martian ice.


NASA / JPL-Caltech / Univ. of Arizona

Frozen beneath a region of cracked and pitted plains on Mars lies about as much water as what's in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes, researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have determined.

Scientists examined part of Mars' Utopia Planitia region, in the mid-northern latitudes, with the orbiter's ground-penetrating Shallow Radar (SHARAD) instrument. Analyses of data from more than 600 overhead passes with the onboard radar instrument reveal a deposit more extensive in area than the state of New Mexico.

The deposit ranges in thickness from about 80 metres to about 170 metres, with a composition that's 50 to 85% water ice, mixed with dust or larger rocky particles.

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