Bright ice patch on Mars

Una macchia luminosa sulla superficie di Marte

A large bright spot never seen before. This is what scientists observed thanks to images captured by ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft. The European Space Agency keeps its eyes on the fascinating e mysterious Red Planet and, once again, it surprises us with the unprecedented image of a planet that becomes increasingly distant from what we had imagined.

A large bright spot has appeared on Mars

The spaceship Mars Express it was launched into space on 2 June 2003, entering the orbit of Mars on the following 25 December and, since then, has allowed us to study and observe the Red Planet in a way we have never been able to do before. Also this time the images captured by the European Space Agency probe they are incredible, because they show us a real bright spot on the surface of the planet.

As ESA explains, it is specifically a giant patch of frozen water, positioned on the floor of a crater near the Martian north pole, about 35 kilometers wide and about 2 kilometers deep. And it already seems strange to talk about ice on Mars, although by now its presence has been confirmed by the probes of various space agencies and international projects (such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter – MRO – of NASA): the Red Planet has a extreme climatein which winters can be so severe that temperatures at the poles can drop as low as -125 ° C.

And it is thanks to these climatic conditions that the so-called Martian frost is formed, a recently discovered and fascinating phenomenon. Essentially one carbon dioxide frost, a predominant element in the atmosphere of Mars, as well as a sort of dry ice that resists in the winter months and then melts with solar heat. But this is where the discovery of the bright spot becomes interesting.

A unique Martian phenomenon of its kind

The studies related to the Martian frost and therefore to the ice on Mars refer to the ice caps identified in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet. But now let’s talk about a large patch of ice that is located near the north pole of the planet and which is the focus of a particular phenomenon.

“This white spot is present all year round – explains ESA -, as the temperature and pressure conditions do not favor the sublimation of the water ice. It can’t be frozen carbon dioxide since the ice of carbon dioxide [la brina marziana di cui parlavamo prima, ndr] it had already disappeared from the north polar cap at the time of image acquisition (late summer in the northern Martian hemisphere). The circular patch of luminous material located in the center of the crater consists of residual water ice“.

A fascinating discovery that shows us once again how the Red Planet is able to destroy all our certainty or convictions. Ice caps, underground flowing waters and even the unmistakable traces of two floods or even the remote presence of an ocean that no longer exists today. Mars is a planet still to be discovered and the eyes are on it, even by those who plan to spend old age there a day not too far away.

#Bright #ice #patch #Mars

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