Mars has a layer of Ice

Formed sometime between January and September 2008, this fresh crater has dredged up barely buried water ice and splashed it onto the Martian surface. The HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recorded this colour close-up image on 1 November 2008. The scene is about 30 metres across. (Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Mars has a layer of ice as shallow as a few tens of centimeters below the surface. If the Viking lander had been able to dig deeper it would have found it in the 1970s. Analysis of recent impact craters show the exposed ice, which then is sublimated into the atmosphere.


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