Mars North Polar Ice Cap.  Credit:  NASA/JPL

Lots of Pure Water Ice at Mars North Pole

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

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Planum Boreum, Mar’s north polar cap contains water ice “of a very high degree of purity,” according to an international study. Using radar data from the SHARAD (SHAllow RADar) instrument on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), French researchers say the data point to 95 percent purity in the polar ice cap. The north polar cap is a dome of layered, icy materials, similar to the large ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica, consisting of layered deposits, with mostly ice and a small amount of dust. Combined, the north and south polar ice caps are believed to hold the equivalent of two to three million cubic kilometers (0.47-0.72 million cu. miles) of ice, making it roughly 100 times more than the total volume of North America’s Great Lakes, which is 22,684 cu. kms (5,439 miles).

The study was done by researchers at France’s National Institute of Sciences of the Universe (Insu), using the Italian built SHARAD radar sounder on the US built MRO. SHARAD looks for liquid or frozen water in the first few hundreds of feet (up to 1 kilometer) of Mars’ crust by using subsurface sounding. It can detect liquid water and profile ice.

Mars southern polar cap was once thought to be carbon dioxide ice, but ESA’s Mars Express confirmed that it is composed of a mixture of water and carbon dioxide.

The study on Mars north polar cap appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union.

Source: PhysOrg


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Scrambler Sinister
Member
Scrambler Sinister
January 20, 2009 9:09 PM

I wonder what would happen if we were to melt all of that ice under earth like conditions….. ( earth like meaning STP conditions)….

hmm
Guest
hmm
January 20, 2009 10:03 PM

greenhouse gases to warm up the planet & water for humans to flourish! except that there has to be a downside to that idea, just melting it all…

Sci-Fi Si
Guest
January 20, 2009 10:57 PM

That really is fantastic news for space exploration. I wonder if the Moon will turn up anything?

I had been very much sideing with the Moon Society’s point of view. Moon first, then Mars, but this is really fantastic news and might just tip the balance.

smile

leky
Guest
leky
January 20, 2009 10:58 PM

What happens when u pass an electric current trough CO2 and H2O???

methane!!

“These findings are not evidence for life, but evidence for active processes on Mars.”

http://www.bautforum.com/universe-today-story-comments/83736-mars-methane-movies.html

marcellus
Guest
marcellus
January 21, 2009 6:41 AM

Follow the water. Skip the Moon, go directly to Mars.

Irwin Weisberg
Guest
Irwin Weisberg
January 20, 2009 11:50 PM

The south polar cap appears to be seltzer.
So exactly how many billions of taxpayers’ dollars did NASA spend to find “2 cents plain” on Mars?

Farcall
Guest
January 21, 2009 12:37 AM

Irwin: However much it was, it wasn’t enough. We need to increase NASA”s budget about 10 fold, keep government out of the face of private space companies, stop bailing out busted banks and failing auto makers and *really* invest in the future. And the future *is* Mars – not to put too fine a point on it, because it doesn’t stop there.

That “2 cents plain” is a big step toward humans becoming a truly multi-planet species.

Chris Coles
Guest
January 21, 2009 2:35 AM
The underlying principles are good, but the execution not so good. The US government is already by far the largest employer. Adding to that is only going to add to the pressures on the public purse. Tax. What we need are new ways of funding private enterprise. In the recent past, the only way forward was always with the government paying…. If your savings were placed into new savings institutions with a simple remit to pass those savings on into new equity capital investment which in turn is invested into new job creation on simple free enterprise terms, you do not need to go to anyone to get on with the job, you just form a new Joint… Read more »
pantzov
Guest
pantzov
January 21, 2009 2:43 AM

luxury item for the future: bottled mars water.

maybe mars club soda. $10 million/bottle

Alhazred
Guest
Alhazred
January 21, 2009 11:16 AM
Why is it people have this fixation with colonizing Mars? OK, you may be able to argue that manned scientific exploration would be worthwhile, given that you have a cheap enough way to get there. Colonizing Mars makes no sense whatsoever. Where is the economic argument? Even assuming we were a space civilization why would anyone want to trudge all the way down the gravity well of ANY planet, let alone Mars? There’s nothing there you can’t acquire from small bodies with considerably less delta V required and considerably simpler than the so far unsolved problem of even landing on Mars. It simply makes no sense whatsoever. It’s not like there is some kind of desirable real estate… Read more »
Eric Near Buffalo
Guest
Eric Near Buffalo
January 21, 2009 12:11 PM

~~~~~~~~~~
leky Says:
January 20th, 2009 at 10:58 pm
What happens when u pass an electric current trough CO2 and H2O???

methane!!
~~~~~~~~~~

Same thing happens when I pass a bunch of baked beans thru my innards…

METHANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Big whoop.

My question is when do we start trying to find a way of harvesting that methane from ourselves and animals?

Eric Near Buffalo
Guest
Eric Near Buffalo
January 21, 2009 12:25 PM
~~~~~~~~~~ Alhazred Says: January 21st, 2009 at 11:16 am Why is it people have this fixation with colonizing Mars? ~~~~~~~~~~~ It’s not completely a novelty idea floating around. With Global Warming being a runaway train at this point, are you really surprised that the notion of colonizing Mars comes up? If this planet becomes uninhabitable, we’re going to have to do something. I know that at the current pace, we’re totally screwed. But what if there’s something else on the horizon? What if 200-500 years from now, our descendants are faced with the possibility of a massive asteroid hitting Earth? I would hope humans and their defenses would have progressed greatly by that time, but if not we… Read more »
Tomkaten
Guest
Tomkaten
January 21, 2009 12:30 PM
Alhaz, why the obsession ? Well, how long do you think our beautiful Earth will keep providing for all of mankind at the current rate of population growth ? I guess we can at least agree that we need to colonize stuff if we’re to survive as a species, right ? Ok, then, so what should we “terraform” ? The inner planets are out of the question, Venus is too hot, Mercury is hell as well and a dead planet (no magnetism, no activity, nothing). The outer ones… 4 gas giants and Pluto, which is totally out of the question. Moons ? Plenty, indeed, but all frigid and toxic. So tell us please WHAT better place to colonize… Read more »
Eric Near Buffalo
Guest
Eric Near Buffalo
January 21, 2009 1:56 PM

That’s the problem with deep space travel – it takes forever. By the time you get to your destination, your mode of transportation is vastly obsolete. Wormholes, if found to be more than theory, would help tremendously – as would warp drives.

Astrofiend
Member
Astrofiend
January 21, 2009 3:54 PM

“Alhazred Says:
January 21st, 2009 at 11:16 am”

>>>You gotta admit though – it’d be cool to do – we’d do it because it was there to do.

Way to bring economics into it to really take any enjoyment out of the idea. Economics should be a tool, not a reason – what is the point of doing anything based on economic arguments alone? There is no endgame in economics – only the misguided idea that wealth creation is somehow the be-all and end-all of all things – screw everything else.

It’s not called ‘the dismal science’ without reason.

Mike Kelley
Member
Mike Kelley
January 21, 2009 5:13 PM

I fully agree with Tomkaten, our biggest threat isn’t the asteroid, brown star, etc but our exponential population growth, the root cause of global warming, and unless checked dramatically the prognoses for our old earth’s continued habitability is in my opinion dire. MOK

John
Guest
John
January 21, 2009 11:53 PM

NASA needs to work on the colonizing of Mars as soon as possible. Every ciitzin on Earth should be taxed $1 for this to come true. In that way humankind is ensured to survive for billions of years.
I think it is possible to transform Mars to be inhabited.

John
Guest
John
January 21, 2009 11:59 PM

Can oxygen be cultivated for Mars?
Will plants grow on Mars?
Can a structure be built on Mars?
NASA must answer these questions – money well spent.

matt
Guest
matt
January 22, 2009 7:47 AM

Mars’ not Mar’s

Rick "aka" Shorty Long
Guest
January 22, 2009 11:01 PM
This much has been proven… Yes we can grow plants in mars soil… Yes there is water on mars which we can use to create fuel and breathable air… Here’s the problem… If anyone can figure out how to give mars an electromagnetic field then we can begin to talk about creating an atmosphere on mars. Until then, whatever you melt won’t make a difference because most of it will be blown into the solar system by our suns solar winds. There’s no question we could make small, or perhaps even huge skyscraper sized livable habitats, on mars with a self contained atmosphere, but terraforming, the planet is a much more difficult task than the laymen can envision.… Read more »
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