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18 Mar, 2007 05:23

Space scientists get heated over ice on Mars

Space scientists get heated over ice on Mars

In their attempts to unravel the secrets of life on the Red Planet, space scientists are evaluating the amount of ice covering the North Pole of Mars. The planet has what is crucial for life – giant amounts of water.

In addition, these amounts of water can be useful both for making oxygen and hydrogen fuel, which gives more stimulus to continue scientific exploration of Mars.

The fact that there are glaciers on the surface of Mars has been known for some time but their scale is only now becoming apparent.

According to an international team of scientists, the thickness of ice on the South Pole of the planet is almost 4 km.

Until 2002, the icecaps were thought to be just a few metres deep, but thanks to Russian measuring equipment a more accurate depth was determined.

At the end of 2003, the U.S. probe ‘Mars-Express’ went into Mars’ orbit. The probe sent information back to Earth about the size of Mars’ ice caps.

Although now all the attention is paid to Mars’ South Pole, the experts say the North Pole of the red planet has a similar ice cap.

They also suggested that even the frozen water that is on Mars now, is only 10 % of what the planet had previously. Other water could have evaporated. The scientists do not exclude the possibility that the planet has giant reservoirs of water.

Furthermore, nobody frowns on the theory that Mars was a live planet in the past similar to the Earth, as all lakes and seas and rivers which Mars could have had, indicate that the environment was favourable for life to emerge on the planet.

However, in the strict sense, life on Mars could only come with the possible future colonisation from Earth.