New findings reveal deposits on Mars that could be interpreted to be ice-rich may contain little or no ice at all, based on an analysis of radar sounder data for Meridiani Planum — an area on the planet’s equator being explored by the Opportunity rover.
This new insight into Meridiani Planum may help identify areas with and without accessible water ice, a resource critical to future human exploration and possible colonization of Mars. A new paper detailing the findings is published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
In the new study, researchers present new compaction models for materials on Mars that suggest the electrical properties of the deposits of Meridiani Planum, derived from data collected by the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) instrument, can be explained without the need for pore-filling ice. [More at links]