Near-tropical subsurface ice on Mars

Vincendon, Mathieu; Mustard, John; Forget, François; Kreslavsky, Mikhail; Spiga, Aymeric; Murchie, Scott and Bibring, Jean-Pierre (2010). Near-tropical subsurface ice on Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 37(1) L01202.



Near-surface perennial water ice on Mars has been previously inferred down to latitudes of about 45° and could result from either water vapor diffusion through the regolith under current conditions or previous ice ages precipitations. In this paper we show that at latitudes as low as 25° in the southern hemisphere buried water ice in the shallow (<1 m) subsurface is required to explain the observed surface distribution of seasonal CO2 frost on pole facing slopes. This result shows that possible remnants of the last ice age, as well as water that will be needed for the future exploration of Mars, are accessible significantly closer to the equator than previously thought, where mild conditions for both robotic and human exploration lie.

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