New NASA images show a discovery of massive ice sheets more than 300 feet deep across the midsection of Mars. This discovery makes it possible for human astronauts to have an almost limitless supply of water on Mars. “Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need,” said Shane Byrne of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.
Scientists have long theorized that there was water just below the surface, but until now no one knew just how much there really was. The newest data locates at least eight locations where the huge ice sheets are held just under the surface. Supposedly, the ice sheets contain distinct layers, which could preserve a record of Mars’ past climate, according to some scientists.
In late 2016, scientists using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found a buried ice sheet at Mars’ mid-latitudes that holds as much water as Luke Superior. It was until the study that most recently came out that scientists really began to understand the extent and accessibility of Mars’ subsurface ice layers. The eight locations that were recently found were also discovered by the MRO.
It saw from overhead the exposed layers of rock and ice cut into steep banks by erosion. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the ice probably started as snowfall that compacted into massive fractured layers. The latitudes of these sheets are roughly equivalent on Earth to Scotland or the tip of South America.
This discovery could further NASA’s efforts to send humans to Mars, which was an objective for Donald Trump when directing the space agency to focus on its efforts of returning to the moon. This could have very well been the push needed to encourage larger amounts of efforts made to space travel and discovery.