Sunday, March 29, 2009

UA camera spots ice in fresh crater on Mars

The UA-run HiRISE camera circling Mars has found a number of brand new craters formed in the past few months, that have turned up water ice that lies only a foot below the Martian surface.

On Friday, at the Lunar & Planetary Science Conference in Houston, UA investigator Shawn Byrne reported that the "icy deposits had to be at least a couple of inches (several centimeters) thick, and they couldn't have been unearthed from more than a foot or two down," according to a summary in Sky and Telescope magazine published online.

[right, a Martian impact crater that formed between January and September 2008, which exposed "barely buried water ice and splashed it onto the Martian surface." Picture taken by UA's HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The figure is about 100 feet across. Credit, NASA/JPL/UA]

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