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Scientists now have solid evidence to show that ice under the Martian surface varies in depth from location to location

After continuing to receive more detailed information about Mars, U.S. scientists now believe that it is possible that up to half of the Martian surface is covered by ice.  The problem that researchers continue to face is that underground ice depth varies from location to location -- while it can be directly on the surface in one spot, it can be several feet deep just a few feet away.

"We find the top layer of soil has a huge effect on the water ice in the ground," said Arizona State University's Joshua Bandfield.  It was previously believed that Martian ice could be found anywhere from 3 to 6 feet below the surface -- Bandfield's research indicates that it is possible ice can be found just two inches underneath the surface.

Bandfield compares seasonal changes in thermal infrared patterns, after the data was collected with the NASA Odyssey spacecraft, to be able to accurately estimate readings within several hundred feet.  Dusty areas insulate ice, while locations on the surface with large amounts of rocks help pump a lot of heat into the ground -- something that increases the depth where ice will be found.

The Phoenix Mars Mission launches in August; the aim of the mission to put a craft on the surface of Mars to sample the ice.  

Researchers are now trying to estimate how deep the ice on the surface could be.  It is believed that the ice deposits are deep enough that they would cause the creation of large oceans if the deposits were to melt.

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RE: And now.. what's in it?
By Tsuwamono on 5/3/2007 3:44:42 PM , Rating: 2
although you obviously know your gases you apparently do not know that Mars cannot support an atmosphere as it has no magnetic field therefore anything you put into it will just be washed away by solar winds.

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By masher2 on 5/3/2007 3:57:15 PM , Rating: 4
Mars can support an atmosphere. Indeed, it still has one today, albeit a very thin one.

If man possessed the ability to thicken the atmosphere substantially, it would eventually bleed off to outer space. Eventually. In a few hundred thousand years or so. And of course, if we could terraform it in the first place, we could certainly keep manage to sustain it across loss at such an agonizingly slow-- by human terms-- pace.

BTW, you may be interested in the recent research coming from the Swedish Institute of Space Physis, which discounts solar winds as the cause of Martian atmospheric loss.

By SquidianLoveGod on 5/3/2007 9:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
But because of the lack of a magnetic field, It cannot support a substantial atmosphere, And its been proven that the atmosphere is still leaking into space.

I reckon' we should just sticky tape giganticle magnets to the top and bottom of mars. That would fix all those issues.

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By CollegeTechGuy on 5/3/2007 4:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just guessing here, but the earths magnetic fields come from the core, where supposedly theres a huge mass of some kind of metal. I say supposedly and some kind of because no one has ever been to the core. Anyways what we would have to do to get Mars habitable is to steal some metal from another planet, put it in mars's core and melt all the ice.

Alright someone call Superman and tell him to find alot of iron and force it into mars's core and use his laser eyes to melt the ice.

By SquidianLoveGod on 5/3/2007 9:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
Your correct the earths core is made from metal. (And not foam like we all believed!)
And I doubt anyone would goto the core, the pressures and heat are far to great for a human being to withstand. Not to mention it requires allot of digging with a spoon to reach that depth.

Mars also has a core, But it has cooled down and become solid, which is what will happen to earth eventually, and thus lost the magnetic field, and thus; Lost most of its atmosphere.
I think we should just build a giant microwave.
Heat up mars, and add a new rocky cover and call it a new round mars bar.

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