Below Mars' dust are glaciers with frozen waterLondon: Adding further evidence to the global belief that Mars may once have harboured life, Danish scientists have calculated that Martian glaciers have frozen ice equivalent to over 150 billion cubic metres - enough to
London: Adding further evidence to the global belief that Mars may once have harboured life, Danish scientists have calculated that Martian glaciers have frozen ice equivalent to over 150 billion cubic metres - enough to cover the entire surface of the Red planet with more than one metre of ice.
The glaciers are located in the belts around Mars, and are found in both the northern and southern hemispheres.
A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers so they appear as surface of the ground.
But radar measurements show that underneath the dust there are glaciers composed of frozen water.
"We have looked at radar measurements spanning 10 years back in time to see how thick the ice is and how it behaves," said Nanna Bjornholt Karlsson from the Niels Bohr Institute at University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
A glacier is a big chunk of ice and it flows and gets a form that tells us something about how soft it is.
"We then compared this with how glaciers on Earth behave and from that we have been able to make models for the ice flow," he explained.
That the ice has not evaporated out into space could actually mean that the thick layer of dust is protecting the ice.
"The atmospheric pressure on Mars is so low that water ice simply evaporates and becomes water vapour. But the glaciers are well protected under the thick layer of dust," Karlsson said.
The ice at the mid-latitudes is, therefore, an important part of Mars' water reservoir, the authors concluded.
The results were published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letter.