Energy

There’s A Huge Glacier On Mars, And It Once Covered Most Of The Planet

(Shutterstock/Marc Ward)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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European scientists found parts of a huge glacier that once covered most of Mars.

High-resolution photos captured by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express probe show that much of the glacier has now been covered by wind-blown dust and erosion.The underlying sheet of glacial ice seems to be retreating, which may have contributed to a planet wide altitude difference equivalent to several miles. Mars Express has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2003.

Terrain surrounding the area has ridges and troughs that ESA geologists suspect are associated with the glacier. Scientists suspect that Mars was mostly covered in glaciers multiple times within the past several hundred million years.

This discovery of the glacier on Mars is more evidence that the Red Planet may contain habitats that could potentially support life.

Geologists from Yale University and Brock University found in September that hydrogen, a critical component necessary to support life, could be produced by some kind of “Marsquakes,” removing another major barrier to life.

As a result of these new discoveries, NASA is also considering plans to put a large space station in orbit above Mars by 2028, according to plans outlined in August by major aerospace contractor Lockheed Martin. Astronauts would live aboard the “Mars Base Camp” for a year to collect information in preparation for the first manned landing. Lockheed Martin’s plan will construct a 132-ton space station around Mars capable of hosting six astronauts for a year. In comparison, the International Space Station weighs about 440 tons.

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