Mars could have water even today, scientists discover a relict glacier
Water is one resource that is of the greatest interest, especially as Mars emerges as the leading contender for extraterrestrial missions, particularly human exploration. Despite having a reputation for being a lifeless, hostile planet, scientists have now revealed that water may still exist on the Red Planet.
Scientists have discovered a long-gone glacier close to Mars’ equator, which gives hope for the recent occurrence of surface water ice on Mars. It suggests that ice may still be present in the region at shallow depths, which could have important ramifications for upcoming human exploration.
According to research presented at the 54th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, a light-toned deposit with distinguishing glacier-like morphology was present. The majority of light-colored sulphate salts make up LTDs normally, according to researchers, although this deposit also exhibits many characteristics of a glacier, such as crevasse fields and moraine bands. The fact that it could be up to 4 kilometres broad and 6 kilometres long suggests that Mars’ recent past may have been wetter than previously believed.
The glacier was discovered in an area with a history of volcanic eruptions, and the area was covered in volcanic rocks. It raises the possibility that a glacier footprint may have been generated and retained beneath the sulphate salts. The scientists discovered that over time, erosion had stripped away the volcanic materials that had been covering the area, exposing a crusty coating of sulphates that mirrored the glacial ice beneath. It remains to be observed whether water ice is still there beneath the light-toned coating or if it has completely vanished.