Shiny piece of ice on Mars

Una macchia luminosa sulla superficie di Marte

A big bright spot never seen before. This is what scientists have 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 surprises us with the unprecedented sight of a planet moving further and further away from what we imagined.


A large bright spot appeared on Mars

Space ship Mars Express It was launched into space on June 2, 2003, then orbited Mars on December 25, allowing us to study and observe the Red Planet in a way we’ve never done before since. Also this time Images captured by the European Space Agency probe They’re incredible, because they show us a real bright spot on the planet’s surface.

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

And thanks to these climatic conditions, the so-called Martian frost, a recently discovered and fascinating phenomenon. Essentially a carbon dioxide freeze, a dominant element in the Martian atmosphere, as well as a type of dry ice that persists during the winter months and then melts with solar heat. But this is where the exploration of the bright spot gets interesting.

A unique Martian phenomenon of its kind

Studies of Martian frost, and thus of Martian ice, refer to glaciers identified in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet. But now let’s talk about a large chunk of ice that is located near the planet’s north pole and is the focal point of a planet. special phenomenon.

“This white spot is present all year – explains ESA – because temperature and pressure conditions do not favor sublimation of water ice. Frozen carbon dioxide cannot be since carbon dioxide ice [la brina marziana di cui parlavamo prima, ndr] At the time of acquisition (late summer in the northern Martian hemisphere), it had already disappeared from the north polar cap. The circular piece of luminous material at the center of the crater consists of: residual water ice“.

A fascinating discovery that shows us once again how the Red Planet can destroy all our certainty or beliefs. glaciers, underground waters and even clear traces of two floods even the distant presence of an ocean that no longer exists today. Mars is a planet still waiting to be discovered and eyes are on him, even whoever designed it grow old there a day not far away.


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