Friday, July 29, 2005

Water found on Mars

The BBC is reporting that water ice has been found in High Resolution Stereo Camera (HSRC) images taken by Mars Express earlier this year. This is a big boost, both to the possibilities that life might have existed at one point on Mars, or might still exist, but also to the chance that a manned mission could one day be sent to our most interesting neighbour...

CREDIT: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)
The HRSC on ESA's Mars Express obtained this perspective view on 2 February 2005 during orbit 1343 with a ground resolution of approximately 15 metres per pixel. It shows an unnamed impact crater located on Vastitas Borealis, a broad plain that covers much of Mars's far northern latitudes, at approximately 70.5° North and 103° East. The crater is 35 kilometres wide and has a maximum depth of approximately 2 kilometres beneath the crater rim. The circular patch of bright material located at the centre of the crater is residual water ice. The colours are very close to natural, but the vertical relief is exaggerated three times. The view is looking east.

Update: Slashdot has more...