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Young Mars Crater Contains Water Ice. / August 31, 2010 /

A fresh crater on Mars has revealed a hidden cache of frozen water in some of the latest photos from a NASA spacecraft.
The young crater is in the northern hemisphere of Mars. Scientists suspect it formed only recently, sometime between April 2004 and January of this year, said Nathan Bridges, a HiRISE science team member at the University of Arizona.
The ice patch covers an area of up to 20 square feet (2 square meters). It «is probably at the same depth and has a similar origin to that excavated by the Phoenix lander back in 2008,» he wrote in an image description.

NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander touched down in the Martian arctic in May 2008 and found evidence of water ice just beneath the surface using a small scoop at the end of its robotic arm.

Scientists were surprised at the time to find the water ice was 99 percent pure, with just a smidge of Mars dust mixed in. They speculated that the water in the ice is «actually a few hundred thousand years old,» originating from a period when the planet was liquid, Bridges said.

A layer of ice could have remained insulated from the Martian environment for up to 400,000 years until an impact disrupted its protective covering, researchers have said.

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