Saturday, July 30, 2005

546: Water on Mars

Water ice spotted in crater at Martian north pole | Science Blog:

These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, show a patch of water ice sitting on the floor of an unnamed crater near the Martian north pole.

The HRSC obtained these images during orbit 1343 with a ground resolution of approximately 15 metres per pixel. The unnamed impact crater is located on Vastitas Borealis, a broad plain that covers much of Mars's far northern latitudes, at approximately 70.5° North and 103° East.

The crater is 35 kilometres wide and has a maximum depth of approximately 2 kilometres beneath the crater rim. The circular patch of bright material located at the centre of the crater is residual water ice.

This white patch is present all year round, as the temperature and pressure are not high enough to allow sublimation of water ice.

It cannot be frozen carbon dioxide since carbon dioxide ice had already disappeared from the north polar cap at the time the image was taken (late summer in the Martian northern hemisphere).
Water on Mars gives better odds of life on Mars.