NASA discovers clean-water ice just below Mars' surface
The thick sheets of ice at these eight sites could provide the reservoir of water necessary for human expeditions to Mars.
For any future mission to Mars, finding water is critical. No one is holding their breath that they will find a lake of Evian bubbling up, but now scientists found what may be the next best thing—a clear view of several layers of water ice deposited right under the surface. NASA scientists used HiRISE, a powerful camera installed on its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to make the discovery of the ice in the faces of eroding slopes.
In a study published in Science magazine, researchers showcase details of eight regions of Mars in both northern and southern hemispheres where erosion left bare, large cross-sections of thick ice underneath. The exciting part of the find is not just the large amount of ice itself but how accessible it is. Some of the deposits are just one meter below the surface, while others extends up to 100 meters deep. We are talking a 100-meter-thick chunk of ice that can be converted into water.
The discovered ice likely started out as snow long ago. The scientists think the deposits are pretty pure water ice—a boon for future exploratory missions. The exposed deposits are capped by a layer of one to two yards of ice-cemented rock and dust.
The study’s lead author, Colin Dundas of the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, explained that the researchers were able to achieve an unprecedented level of detail in their study.
“There is shallow ground ice under roughly a third of the Martian surface, which records the recent history of Mars,” said Dundas. "What we’ve seen here are cross-sections through the ice that give us a 3-D view with more detail than ever before.”
The co-author of the report, Shane Byrne of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Tucson, was equally enthusiastic about their accomplishment:
“The discovery reported today gives us surprising windows where we can see right into these thick underground sheets of ice," said Byrne. ”It's like having one of those ant farms where you can see through the glass on the side to learn about what's usually hidden beneath the ground."
The big takeaway from the find is that we now know at least eight sites where underground ice is accessible, providing a potential reservoir of water, necessary for human expeditions to the planet. Byrne joked that now it’s enough for astronauts to go to Mars with just “a bucket and a shovel” and they’ll have all the water they need. It will probably need to be separated from debris that ended up in the water over time, but you can make it work, say the scientists.
Since the locations of the sites are in the upper mid-latitudes of Mars, meaning that the temperatures get extremely low there, the scientists continue their search for more-landing friendly water spots.
You can read the study in Science magazine here.
Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.
- The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
- The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
- Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
Younger Americans support expanding the Supreme Court and serious political reforms, says new poll.
- Americans under 40 largely favor major political reforms, finds a new survey.
- The poll revealed that most would want to expand the Supreme Court, impose terms limits, and make it easier to vote.
- Millennials are more liberal and reform-centered than Generation Z.
A 2020 study published in the journal of Psychological Science explores the idea that fake news can actually help you remember real facts better.
- In 2019, researchers at Stanford Engineering analyzed the spread of fake news as if it were a strain of Ebola. They adapted a model for understanding diseases that can infect a person more than once to better understand how fake news spreads and gains traction.
- A new study published in 2020 explores the idea that fake news can actually help you remember real facts better.
- "These findings demonstrate one situation in which misinformation reminders can diminish the negative effects of fake-news exposure in the short term," researchers on the project explained.
Previous studies on misinformation have already paved the way to a better understanding<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU1NzQ4NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjE2Mjg1Nn0.hs_xHktN1KXUDVoWpHIVBI2sMJy6aRK6tvBVFkqmYjk/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C800%2C0%2C823&height=700" id="fc135" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="246bb1920c0f40ccb15e123914de1ab1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="fake news concept of misinformation and fake news in the media" />
How does misinformation spread?
Credit: Visual Generation on Shutterstock<p><strong>What is the "continued-influence" effect?</strong></p><p>A challenge in using corrections effectively is that repeating the misinformation can have negative consequences. Research on this effect (referred to as "continued-influence") has shown that information presented as factual that is later deemed false can still contaminate memory and reasoning. The persistence of the continued-influence effect has led researchers to generally recommend avoiding repeating misinformation. </p><p>"Repetition increases familiarity and believability of misinformation," <a href="https://engineering.stanford.edu/magazine/article/how-fake-news-spreads-real-virus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the study explains</a>.</p><p><strong>What is the "familiarity-backfire" effect?</strong></p><p>Studies of this effect have shown that increasing misinformation familiarity through extra exposure to it leads to misattributions of fluency when the context of said information cannot be recalled. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797620952797#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2017 study</a> examined this effect in myth correction. Subjects rated beliefs in facts and myths of unclear veracity. Then, the facts were affirmed and myths corrected and subjects again made belief ratings. The results suggested a role for familiarity but the myth beliefs remained below pre-manipulation levels. </p>