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Searching for Ice Beneath Martian Dunes

Radar observations of Martian dunes

Searching for buried water ice in Martian dunes within Lowell Crater with radar and thermal data. The dune field at Lowell's center (lower left image) is at a topographic low (lower right image) and yields a strong surface return followed by a weaker return (arrows, upper left image) at ~90 meters depth that may be from either the crater floor or another boundary such as ground ice. The strong surface return is consistent with dune forms having surface texture below the ~15 meter scale of the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Seasonal variations in apparent thermal inertia from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer on Mars Global Surveyor unexpectedly suggest a duricrust (hard layer) with no ice immediately below.

Provided by Than Putzig.

May 21, 2018
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