A New Map Shows Where Mars is Hiding all its Ice

The blue areas on this map of Mars are regions where NASA missions have detected subsurface water ice (from the equator to 60 degrees north latitude). Scientists can use the map – part of the Subsurface Water Ice Mapping project – to decide where the ... Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Planetary Science Institute.

Water will be one of the most important resources for human explorers on Mars. They’ll need it for drinking, propellant, breathing, and more. It makes sense to land near a spot where there’s water ice close to the surface.

NASA has released a new map of Mars’s northern hemisphere showing all the places where subsurface water ice has been detected, some of which are surprisingly close to the equator, as well as surprisingly close to the surface. This map could decide the first human landing site.

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A Swarm Of Swimming Microbots Could Be Deployed To Europa’s Ocean

Europa and other ocean worlds in our solar system have recently attracted much attention. They are thought to be some of the most likely places in our solar system for life to have developed off Earth, given the presence of liquid water under their ice sheathes and our understanding of liquid water as one of the necessities for the development of life. Various missions are planned to these ocean worlds, but many suffer from numerous design constraints. Requirements to break through kilometers of ice on a world far from the Sun will do that to any mission. These design constraints sometimes make it difficult for the missions to achieve one of their most important functions – the search for life. But a team of engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory think they have a solution – send forth a swarm of swimming microbots to scour the ocean beneath a main “mothership” bot.

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