Astronomy News

Martian Glaciers

Most of us are familiar with the ice caps on Mars. Now research is pointing to glaciers on the Red Planet.

Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute used radar observations and ice flow modeling to show the shape of the glaciers which occur in both hemispheres just below the surface.

It is not known if the glaciers are made of frozen water (H2O) or carbon dioxide (CO2) or even if it mud.

“We have looked at radar measurements spanning ten years back in time to see how thick the ice is and how it behaves. A glacier is after all 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,” explains Nanna Bjørnholt Karlsson, a postdoc at the Centre for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

The researchers calculate the volume of the glaciers could be equivalent to the amount needed to cover the entire planet with 1.1 meters if ice!

This is a huge discovery if it turns out to be accurate.  Read the details at the Niels Bohr Institute.

The image depicts the glacial regions as blue dots. Image Credit: Mars Digital Image Model, NASA/Nanna Karlsson