In the middle northern latitudes of Mars there is a vast territory called Utopia Planitia, which means “paradise plain”. However, unlike the earthly “paradise” places with lush vegetation and favorable climate, now Mars can “boast” except with deserts with giant cracks and craters filled with red mud.
The concept of “Martian paradise” in the understanding of scientists engaged in the preparation of the Martian mission is primarily related to the availability of water, so necessary for the Martian colonists. And it seems that Utopia Planitia can become such a place on the Red Planet.
Using the SHARAD equipment installed on the Martian NASA Reconnaissance Orbiter, between the Martian equator and the North Pole at a depth of 80 to 170 meters, a soil was found containing 50 to 85% water ice combined with dust and larger rock particles. According to scientists, its reserves are commensurate with the water volume of the Great Lakes in North America.
Thanks to a layer of soil on top of the ice, it does not evaporate. Scientists believe that the ice found is only less than a percent of the totalArsenian reserves. And most importantly, they are in relative proximity to the surface.
“The ice deposits in Utopia Planitia are not just exploration of resources. They are evidence of climate change on Mars, “says Joe Levy of the University of Texas.” We can not yet explain why ice is in some parts of the world. The obtained samples will help in the future to establish the process of obtaining water for the mission participants, as well as reveal the secrets of the Martian Ice Age. “