Water is present on Mars. But water exists in the form of ice. Almost all water ice is present beneath the surface. Water is also available in vapor form in the atmosphere in a small quantity. Now a study has discovered that the snow on the Red Planet is dusty. Scientists want to determine how dusty the Martian ice is. They are developing a new approach to understanding this. Scientists said that the dusty snow has the potential to melt. But they didn’t confirm up to what extent the dusty snow melts down. Notably, Mars is known to be a dusty planet. Therefore, its ice is also dusty. Much of the ice is covered with dust and appears darker. This gives an illusion that snow is not fresh.
Scientists said that when the ice is dustier, it is darker and gets warmer. This affects its stability. Besides, this impacts its evolution through time. They said that ice can also melt in certain conditions. Scientists used the data from NASA’s Mars missions to understand the dusty Mars ice. They combined data from the Phoenix Mars Lander and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. They matched the brightness of ice to understand the dust content. They said that there is a probability that the dusty and dark ice melts. They predicted that ice could have already meltdown by a few centimeters. The melting causes liquid water on the subsurface. Scientists said that liquid is protected from evaporating because of ice’s overlying blanket.
The planet has a wispy atmosphere. It is very thin. The planet is rapidly losing its atmosphere to outer space. Scientists said that the Phoenix Mars Lander dug up ice on the planet that was formed by dusty snowfall. They said that Mars experienced multiple ice ages. The ice throughout the mid-latitudes is a remnant of dusty snowfall. Scientists called for further analysis of ice exposures. They said that a better understanding of the melting of ice and how it evolves will be crucial in planning future missions. If the ice melts on the planet, it can help scientists to learn the planet’s climate history.