Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Bigger Splash

Mars is famously peppered with craters of all sizes. And like Earth, it's still encountering meteorites which are creating fresh craters on the surface; Mars's atmosphere is vanishingly thin compared to Earth's, and therefore offers less protection to incoming space debris. The team operating the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter have spotted a number of fresh craters since they've begun surveying the surface, and some appear to have excavated water-ice from beneath the surface in mid-latitude regions, suggesting that ice beneath the surface, known to exist around the north and south poles extends a fair way towards the equator: more evidence that Mars's inventory of water is much larger than many people expected. And if small meteorites can dig up ice, so can astronauts.

(Full story at Universe Today)


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