Co2 Filled Ice Found on Mars

A pretty big discovery which made news worldwide.

Through various pictures and investigation, it has been discovered that Mars has ice deposits. This in itself was a very profound discovery at the time, but this was just the beginning of many discoveries about Mars. Billions of years ago, Mars did not only have water, but it had great bodies of water. At one time, Mars was filled with creeks, ponds, rivers and even oceans. It is reported that remains of these great bodies of water can be seen in indentations on the planet’s surface. Recently, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter made another very noteworthy discovery into the past, and possibly the future of Mars. While taking samples of a large ice deposit on the planet’s South Pole, another type of ice was discovered under the water; they found ice filled with Co2. This Co2 filled ice was very large in size and could be comparable in size to Lake Superior.

A discovery of such a large amount of Co2 is important for many reasons. Mars is known to have slight shifts in the planet’s alignment which brings one pole closer to the sun, an occurrence which would lead to the release of some, or all of the Co2 discovered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Carbon dioxide is what’s known as a greenhouse gas. It has a great effect on a planets atmosphere. As seen in our own planet; an excess of carbon dioxide can lead to the warming of the planet. In the case of Mars, the increased amount of carbon dioxide would thicken the planet’s atmosphere enough to increase the presence of water. While it has been noted by scientists, that the increase in water would be subtle, it would be enough to bring back surface water to smaller bodies, such as ponds and creeks. These changes could be seen in a few tens of thousands of years, but unfortunately the reemergence of oceans on Mars would take a far longer time. On a less positive note, an increase in the atmosphere’s thickness would also bring about stronger winds. The winds of Mars are already clocked in at hundreds of miles per hour, but an increase in thickness would make the winds even more harsh and devastating.

This discovery has many applications that are relevant to the future of Mars exploration. Though it will be some time in the far future, it is agreed by scientists that it is very likely that the atmosphere of Mars will thicken and the presence of water will be sustained. These factors could be of great importance to space colonizers of the future. A water source and more protective atmosphere could make Mars a viable option for sustaining human life.

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