Friday, 27 May 2016

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Ice age on Mars took place 400,000 years ago, claim scientists

In yet another breakthrough, scientists from NASA have spotted record of the most recent Martian ice age recorded in the planet's north polar ice cap.

Making use of radar data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), the study indicates that glacial period came to an end about 400,000 years ago.

It also reveals about how much ice would have been accumulated at the poles since then.

The researchers identified a boundary in the ice that extends across the entire north polar cap. Above the boundary, the layers accumulated very quickly and uniformly, compared with the layers below them.

"The layers in the upper few hundred meters display features that indicate a period of erosion, followed by a period of rapid accumulation that is still occurring today," said planetary scientist Isaac Smith who was with Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado at the time of the study

The results will help refine models of the Red Planet's past and future climate by allowing scientists to determine how ice moves between the poles and mid-latitudes, and in what volumes.