With all the talk about terraforming Mars in the next Millennium, very few have mentioned what would happen to the Martian polar regions if the temperature increased.
Recently scientists have discovered that the southern polar region of Mars, composed mostly of carbon and water ice has enough water frozen underneath to flood the entire planet.
(Mars Today) New measurements of Mars’ south polar region indicate extensive frozen water. The polar region contains enough frozen water to cover the whole planet in a liquid layer approximately 36 feet deep. A joint NASA-Italian Space Agency instrument on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft provided these data.
This new estimate comes from mapping the thickness of the ice. The Mars Express orbiter’s radar instrument has made more than 300 virtual slices through layered deposits covering the pole to map the ice. The radar sees through icy layers to the lower boundary, which is as deep as 2.3 miles below the surface.
“The south polar layered deposits of Mars cover an area bigger than Texas. The amount of water they contain has been estimated before, but never with the level of confidence this radar makes possible,” said Jeffrey Plaut of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena Calif.
Some scientists have even discovered what appears to be a “bright spot” underneath the ice which may be an indicator of water beneath the surface despite the freezing temperatures.
Mars it seems has more than its fair share of water frozen underneath, which may end up being its “golden resource” that future colonists can exchange for goods on other worlds (and asteroids). If humanity ever begins to colonize this world, they may need to watch how fast they raise the temperature on this planet as the last thing we need is another flooded world causing havoc for our species.