The European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter took this stunning view of the ice-filled Korolev Crater on Mars in 2018. Image via ESA/ DLR/ FU Berlin.
Mars ice is dusty
Mars has two things in great abundance: ice and dust. It’s not surprising, then, that Martian ice and snow tend to be dusty, more so than ice or snow on Earth. Last month (August 19, 2021), researchers from two universities in the U.S. announced a new study showing just how dusty Mars ice really is. It seems orbital spacecraft have observed most Martian ice. And it’s been a challenge to determine grain sizes and dust content of Mars ice from orbit. But researchers developed a new method to probe Mars ice. They learned it might be able to melt just a few centimeters below the surface, where the liquid water produced wouldn’t evaporate so quickly. Could that meltwater help support microbial life on Mars?
The researchers published their peer-reviewed results in JGR Planets on August 18, 2021.
Planetary scientists Aditya Khuller and Philip Christensen, both of Arizona State University, led the new study. They worked with Stephen Warren from the University of Washington.
This chart shows how Martian dust can ...