Mars' glaciers give insights on the planet's many ice ages

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jan 21, 2021, 05:28 PM(IST)

Mars (FILE) Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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The glaciers on Mars never left as they remained frozen on the red planet's surface with an average temperature of minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit for over 300 years covered in debris

A new study on glaciers has said that Mars has been hit by six and 20 ice ages in the past 300 to 800 million years. 

In the last ice age that arrived on Earth about 2,000 years ago, our planet got covered in glaciers, but gradually these glaciers retreated to the poles. 

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However, the glaciers on Mars never left as they remained frozen on the red planet's surface with an average temperature of minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit for over 300 years covered in debris. 

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"All the rocks and sand carried on that ice have remained on the surface," said research's author Joe Levy, a planetary geologist and assistant professor of geology at Colgate University in New York, in a statement. 

"It's like putting the ice in a cooler under all those sediments."

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences on Monday, reported CNN. 

Researchers have long tried to work out how glaciers have been formed in Mars and this research could provide an answer to these questions. 

Levy found out that since the rocks erode with time, the discovery of rocks that moved from larger to smaller in sizes downhill would suggest one ice age.

He also said that he and 10 students at Colgate University studied Mars' surface by images of 45 glaciers taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The images with high resolution helped the researchers count the rocks and determine their size. 

The magnification of the photographs let the team "see things the size of a dinner table" on the red planet's surface, the lead author said.
 

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