21 December 2018

50-mile-wide lake of frozen water on Mars

Amazing photo.  I've been rewatching Carl Sagan's legendary Cosmos programs; last night by coincidence I watched his program about Mars, with his bubbling enthusiasm over the recently-acquired images of the surface of Mars taken by the Viking spacecraft.   Now, about 20 years after his death, this...
The stunning Korolev crater in the northern lowlands of Mars is filled with ice all year round owing to a trapped layer of cold Martian air that keeps the water frozen.

The 50-mile-wide crater contains 530 cubic miles of water ice, as much as Great Bear Lake in northern Canada, and in the centre of the crater the ice is more than a mile thick.

Images beamed back from the red planet show that the lip around the impact crater rises high above the surrounding plain. When thin Martian air then passes over the crater, it becomes trapped and cools to form an insulating layer that prevents the ice from melting.

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