NASA scientists announced the discovery of massive glaciers on Mars, the ground-penetrating Radar of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter found numerous huge glaciers up to one half-mile thick buried beneath layers of rock and debris, outside the Martian polar region. AFP reports one of the glaciers is three time the size of Los Angeles in area and scientists speculate the frozen water deposits are remnants of a Martian ice age millions of years ago.
The buried glaciers reported by Holt and his 11 co-authors lie in the Hellas Basin region of Mars' southern hemisphere, and scientist said even larger frozen water reservoirs may exist in Mars' northern hemisphere.
"The fact that these features are in the same latitude bands -- about 35 to 60 degrees -- in both hemispheres points to a climate-driven mechanism for explaining how they got there," said Holt.
Another member of the research team noted however, that a basic mystery about the glaciers remains unsolved. "A key question is 'How did the ice get there in the first place?'" said James Head of Brown University.
Unanswered questions also persist, Brown said, about what might be contained in the frozen water. "On Earth, such buried glacial ice in Antarctica preserves the record of traces of ancient organisms and past climate history," he said.