We’ve known that ice has existed on Mars for a while now, but finding accessible glaciers could be a make or break discovery for human exploration of the red planet. Researchers are now saying that new erosion has exposed as many as eight different locations where glaciers possibly as deep as 100 meters or more are located within just one meter of the surface.
The new discovery is coming to us from data originally collected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2005 and it shows underground cliffs that appear to be made of pure ice. The ice appears to have accumulated in bands over the years as snow accumulated on the surface of the planet, but one thing is for sure, there’s a lot more of it than researchers had ever anticipated finding on Mars.
Scientists also believe that the ice is relatively new, as there’s none of the telltale pock marks that indicate the area has been hit by any meteorites or space debris like the rest of the planet. So far, the only downside is that these ice cliffs are all near the poles, which means humans would not be able to survive Martian winters near them. Still, this new information is giving everyone a lot more hope that even more water can be found on Mars before humans head there in the 2030s.