The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) TGO Exomars orbiter have detected large amounts of water in an area like the Netherlands in the heart of Mars’ Great Valley system., called Valles Marineris.
Water, hidden under the surface of Mars, was found by FREND del Trace Orbiter (TGO), which maps hydrogen, a measure of water content, at the highest point in Martian soil.
While water is known to exist on Mars, Most of it is found in the cold polar regions of the planet in the form of ice. Water ice at the surface near the equator is not exposed, as temperatures here are not cold enough for exposed water ice to stabilize.
Missions, including ESA’s Mars Express, have searched for near-surface water, such as ice covering dust grains on Earth or encased in minerals, at low latitudes on Mars, and found small amounts. However, these studies have only explored the surface of the planet itself; There may be deeper water tanks covered with dust.
“Using TGO, we can look up to a meter below this layer of dust and see what’s really going on beneath the surface of Mars, and most importantly, Identification of “oases” rich in water that could not be discovered with previous tools‘, came in a statement Igor Mitrofanov, of the Institute of Space Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences and lead author of the new study.
FREND revealed a An area with an unusually large amount of hydrogen in the vast Valles Marineris system: Assuming that the hydrogen we see is bound to water molecules, it appears that up to 40% of the near-surface material in this region is water.”
The water-rich region is roughly the size of the Netherlands It overlaps with the deep valleys of Candor Chaos, part of the valley system that bodes well for our search for water on Mars.
Mitrofanov and colleagues analyzed FREND observations from May 2018 to February 2021, which determined the hydrogen content in Martian soil by detecting neutrons rather than light.
Neutrons are produced when high-energy particles known as “galactic cosmic rays” collide with Mars; Drier soil emits more neutrons than wetter soil, so we can infer how much water is in the soil by observing the neutrons it emits.”Adds co-author Alexey Malakhov, also from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “FREND’s unique observation technology provides much higher spatial resolution than previous measurements of this type, now allowing us to see water features we have not seen before. We discovered that a central part of Valles Marineris was filled with water, much more water than we expected.. This is very similar to permafrost regions on Earth, where water ice persists permanently under dry soil due to constant low temperatures.”
This water can be in the form of ice or water that is chemically bound to other minerals in the soil. However, other reviews tell us that The minerals in this part of Mars usually contain only a small percentage of waterMuch less than these new observations show. “in general, We think that this water is likely to exist in the form of iceAlexey dice.
Water ice generally evaporates in this region of Mars due to temperature and pressure conditions near the equator. The same applies to chemically bound water: The correct combination of temperature, pressure, and hydration must be in place to prevent minerals from losing water. This indicates that in Valles Marineris there must be a special mixture of conditions that are still not clear to conserve water, or it is being replenished in some way.
“This discovery is a great first step, but We need more feedback to know for sure what kind of water we’re treating‘, adds the study’s co-author Hakan Svidim From ESA ESTEC in the Netherlands.
“Regardless of the outcome, the outcome is clarified Unparalleled capabilities of TGO instruments to allow us to “see” beneath the surface of Mars, and reveals the presence of a large, shallow and easily exploitable water reservoir in this region of Mars,” says Svidim.
(With information from Europa Press)