ESA quoted the study’s lead author, Igor Mitrofanov, as saying: “With TGO we can see up to a meter below this dusty layer to see what’s going on beneath the surface of Mars.
Based on the observations of FREND, researchers believe that the huge amount of hydrogen in the valley is bound in water molecules.
Study co-author Alexey Malakhov said that FREND’s neutron telescope was used to detect all this. Neutrons are produced when “particles that are highly energy-packed in the form of galactic cosmic rays come into contact with Mars. Dry soil emits more neutrons than wet soil. This makes it possible for researchers to make predictions,” he said. Counts how much water is in the soil.
Researchers studied FREND’s observations from May 2018 to February 2021 before coming to conclusions. According to him, the presence of water in the Valles Marineris valley of Mars can be compared to the permafrost region on Earth, where ice is permanently present under dry soil.
Water ice is uncommon in the lower latitudes of Mars. This is because the temperature there is so high that the water molecules evaporate. Co-author Hakan Svedheim said this discovery is a first step, but more observations are needed to be sure. Exploring the water reservoir at Valles Marineris is important, as are many future missions.
Valles Marineris is compared to Earth’s Grand Canyon, which is ten times smaller. The valley of Mars is the largest valley in our solar system.
Colin Wilson, a scientist at ESA’s ExoMars TGO project, said that knowing the current water on Mars will help researchers understand what happened to the abundant water on the planet. With this, the past possibilities of life on the planet will also be detected.