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Mars: The Grand Canyon harbors water just below the surface

Mars: The Grand Canyon harbors water just below the surface

.’s TGO Exomars orbit ESA-Roscosmos Discover loads of water In a region like the Netherlands at the heart of the Great Valley System Mars, Valis Marineris.

the water, which is hidden under the surface Mars, by the FREND Orbital Gas Tracer (TGO) instrument, which maps hydrogen, a measure of the content of water, At the highest meter from the ground Mars.

While it is known that a file water It is in Mars, Most of them are found in the cold polar regions of the planet in the form of ice. ice from water It is not exposed on the surface near the equator, as temperatures here are not cold enough for ice water The exposed is stable.

Missions, including Mars Express of the which – which, They searched for water near the surface, such as ice that covers dust grains on the ground or is coated with minerals, at latitudes lower than Mars, They have found small amounts. However, these studies have only explored the surface of the planet itself; There can be deposits of water Deeper covered with dust.

“Using TGO, we can look up to a meter below this layer of dust and see what’s really going on beneath the surface of Mars And most importantly, to identify “oases” rich in water that could not be detected using previous tools,” says Igor Mitrofanov, of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and lead author of the new study.

FREND has detected an area with an unusually large amount of hydrogen in the massive Valles Marineris Valley system: assuming that the hydrogen we see is bound to molecules water, It appears that up to 40% of near-surface material is in this region as well water”, to explain.

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Country size

The area is rich water It is roughly the size of the Netherlands and overlaps with the deep valleys of the Candor Chaos, part of the valley system that bodes well for our search for water in Mars.

Mitrofanov and colleagues analyzed FREND observations from May 2018 to February 2021, which determined soil hydrogen content from Mars By detecting neutrons instead of light.

Neutrons are produced when high-energy particles known as ‘galactic cosmic rays’ collide. Mars; Drier soil emits more neutrons than moist soil, so we can deduce how much neutrons are water there in the soil by looking at the neutrons they emit,” adds co-author Alexei Malakhov, also of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Institute of Space Research. FREND’s unique monitoring technology provides much higher spatial accuracy of measurements. earlier this type, now allowing us to see features of water that did not exist before. We discovered that a central part of Valles Marineris was full water, Much more water than we expected. This is very similar to the permafrost regions on Earth, where the ice comes from water It remains permanently stable under dry soil due to the constant low temperatures.”

is being water It can be in the form of ice or water chemically bonded to other minerals in the soil. However, other observations tell us that minerals seen in this part of Mars It usually contains only a small percentage of water, Much less than these new observations show. “Overall, we think this is the most likely water It exists in the form of ice,” says Alexei.

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ice from water It generally evaporates in this region of Mars Because of the temperature and pressure conditions near the equator. The same applies to water Chemically bound: The correct combination of temperature, pressure and hydration must be in place to prevent minerals from losing water. This indicates that in Valles Marineris there must be a special set of conditions that remain unclear to maintain water, Or he somehow recovers.

“This finding is a great first step, but we need more observations to know for sure what type of water we are treating,” adds study co-author Hakan Svedem of ESTEC who – which in the Netherlands.

Regardless of the outcome, the discovery demonstrates the unparalleled capabilities of TGO instruments to allow us to ‘see’ beneath the surface of the Earth. Mars, It reveals a large and not very deep water reserve that can be easily exploited in this region of the world Mars”.

With information from Europa Press

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