Possible new type of glacier just discovered on Mars
A potential Mars landing site might be underlain by debris-covered glaciers.
Strange sinuous features on a flat plain known as Arcadia Planitia bear a striking resemblance to ice streams within ice sheets in Antarctica, a new study finds. If these shallowly covered glaciers do, in fact, exist, they could be a reason to direct future crewed missions to Mars toward the region. The spot was already intriguing to SpaceX and NASA because it is a broad, flat plain, which is ideal for landing spacecraft. If there is ice not too deep below the surface of the plain, astronauts could also have a water source easily at hand.
The newfound flow-like features are strange because they occur on flat terrain, said study leader Shannon Hibbard, a doctoral student at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
"There's lots of evidence that this is an ice-rich area, but we don't have any major topographic relief occurring where these sinuous features are," Hibbard told Live Science. "They're existing in a pretty flat-lying plane, so that was kind of odd."
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