Russian instrument Hand, mounted on the American station "Mars Odyssey", found water ice on Mars in March 2002. This RIA "Novosti" reported manager and developer of the experiment Hand, Head of the Laboratory of Space Research Institute (IKI), Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Igor Mitrofanov.
"Already constructed global maps of the neutron flux from Mars with a spatial resolution of 200-300 km — he said. — Found that Mars has two huge area on the polar regions with very high content of water ice in the soil — more than 40-50 percent by weight . "
According to Mitrofanov surface permafrost regions nearly 100 times the size of the polar caps of the planet, and water ice in the north is located directly at the surface. In the southern region of the permafrost layer with a high content of ice is under the cover of dry soil thickness of 20-30 cm
Of greatest interest to scientists are two areas — in Arabia, and Memnon on the equator of Mars, with a water content exceeding 10% by weight. These areas are located on the Red Planet diametrically opposed, and the high water content of the soil is still very difficult to explain, the scientist said.
According device Hand, Arabian region is detected in the coordinates 30 degrees east longitude and 10 degrees of north latitude with the maximum water content of about 16% by weight. In the current climate conditions Mars free ice can not be present in the soil of these areas to a depth of 1-2 m below the surface.
"Currently, a choice — either we are witnessing a very rapid warming of Mars and formed billions of years ago, the ice in the soil has not had time to melt or water molecules chemically incorporated into the rock-forming minerals due to their hydration in the past, in the presence of free water," — According to the scientist.
According to him, the point of landing of U.S. Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity have been chosen long before they were announced the results of exploration of Mars soil by neutron measurements from orbit.
The study of surface topography of Mars shows that the Gusev crater — the rover's landing point Spirit — was a lake, into which the river flowed into the Martian Maadi, and the Gulf of Meridian — the landing point rover Opportunity, was probably the bottom of an ancient sea — this is indicated by deposits of hematite detected by spectral data measurements from orbit.
After processing the data obtained using instruments Hand, it turned out that the water is present in small amounts. This means that the landing rovers is very well chosen and the data can lead to important discoveries about the geochemical processes at the bottom of ancient Martian water, the scientist said.
Battery News, 06.04.2004 11:15