On Mars, discovered underground glaciers that can form the global ocean on the planet

The study was conducted by Stefano Nerozzi, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin Institute

geophysics (UTIG), and Jack Holt from Lunar andUniversity of Arizona Planetary Laboratory (LPL). In their study, the scientists used data collected by the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) instrument installed on board the Mars Reconnaissance Satellite. It uses radar to reveal the structure of the underground layers of the surface of Mars - at depths of up to 2.4 km.

Scientists have discovered that approximately 1.6 km belowThe north pole of Mars has several layers of sand and ice. In some places these layers are made up of 90% water and are believed to be remnants of ancient polar ice sheets. If they melted, they would create a global ocean with a depth of at least 1.5 m. As Nerozzi explained, this find was quite surprising.

“We didn't expect to find so much water ice here,” he said. “This likely makes it the third largest reservoir on Mars after the polar ice caps.”

Essentially, underground ice reserves are"records" of past climate change. Analyzing them can reveal some very interesting things about the history of the planet. The geometry and composition of these layers can help scientists determine whether the Martian climate was ever favorable for life.

As for how all that water got there,The study's authors suggest that glaciers formed during past periods of warming and cooling on Mars. Scientists have long known that Mars experiences glacial events caused by changes in the planet's orbit and tilt (much like Earth).

For about 50 thousand.years, Mars tilts toward the Sun and then gradually returns to a vertical position. When Mars is more vertical, the equatorial region warms while the north polar region cools, causing ice caps to advance. As the planet tilts toward the Sun, the polar region heats up, causing the ice caps to melt.

It was at this time that the remnants of the ice caps are covered with sand, which historically protected them from sun exposure and dispersion into the atmosphere.