Friday, November 21, 2008
Mile-thick glaciers found on Mars
"Huge glaciers up to half a mile thick have been discovered close to the equator of Mars and are thought to be the remnants of an ice age on the planet.
The glaciers are thought to have been formed up to 100 million years ago and are the “most dramatic” evidence yet of climate change on Mars.
Hundreds of glaciers have been identified by researchers using ground-penetrating radar that allows them to see through a rocky layer of debris covering the ice.
The biggest of the glaciers are up to 13 miles long and more than 60 miles wide and represent a potential source of water for astronauts on missions to Mars. When they formed, the climate on Mars was much colder because the tilt of the axis on which the planet spins was much greater than it is now. This allowed ice sheets to extend far beyond the polar regions and towards, possibly even reaching, the Equator."