Giant reservoir of ‘hidden water’ discovered on Mars

Homepage | Forums | Topics In Depth | Science and Environment | Giant reservoir of ‘hidden water’ discovered on Mars

Viewing 0 reply threads
  • Author
    • #478748
      • Total Posts: 11,969

      “We found a central part of Valles Marineris to be packed full of water — far more water than we expected,” co-author Alexey Malakhov, a scientist at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in a statement. “This is very much like Earth’s permafrost regions, where water ice permanently persists under dry soil because of the constant low temperatures.”

      If the hydrogen detected is indeed bound together with oxygen to form water molecules, “as much as 40 percent of the near-surface material in this region appears to be water,” study lead author Igor Mitrofanov said in the statement.

      The Valles Marineris canyon is a gigantic tectonic crack in the Martian surface smoothed out and broadened by erosion from wind and possibly water. The canyon is more than 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) long and 5 miles (8 km) deep, making it 10 times longer and five times deeper than Arizona’s Grand Canyon. According to NASA, if the Valles Marineris were on Earth, the gigantic canyon would stretch across the continental United States — from New York all the way to California.

      The TGO’s FREND instrument enables the orbiter, which has been circling the Red Planet since 2018, to scan for clues of water by detecting neutrons emitted at or just below the Martian surface. As neutrons form when energetic particles called cosmic rays strike the Martian soil, drier surfaces emit more neutrons than wetter ones — enabling the team to calculate the amount of water on a surface by looking at the number of neutrons it produces. This method allows the TGO to detect water as far as 3.28 feet (1 meter) below the Martian surface. In the past, when scientists have searched for water ice in Mars’ equatorial region, they have only been able to find odd traces of the substance clinging to the dust on its surface. Now that the TGO can penetrate to the upper subsurface, our ability to find pockets of water on the Red Planet has expanded dramatically.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

Viewing 0 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.