Why is it in the news?
- The SWIM project, funded by NASA and led by the Planetary Science Institute, has released its fourth and most detailed map indicating potential subsurface water ice locations on Mars.
- Initially, in 2019, the SWIM project focused on Mars’ northern hemisphere. The following phase in 2020 expanded to cover the southern hemisphere.
Significance of the New Mars Ice Mapping
- The map offers updated data on ice reservoirs, utilizing Context Camera (CTX) and High-Resolution Imaging Experiment (HIRISE) instruments.
- The map serves as an essential tool for future Mars missions, highlighting water ice resources, which could decrease the need for transporting water from Earth, streamlining mission logistics.
- Bolsters our comprehension of Mars’ geological characteristics and surface formations.
- Aids in pinpointing areas with possibilities of past or current life on Mars.
- Propels exploration and utilization of resources on the Mars.
- Positioned as the fourth celestial body from the Sun, Mars, often referred to as the “Red Planet,” is a frigid desert planet, roughly half the size of Earth.
- Its distinctive red hue is attributed to the rusty iron present in its soil.
- Mars showcases dynamic features, including seasons, polar ice caps, extinct volcanoes, and traces indicating even more past activity.
- Its thin atmospheric layer comprises carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon.
- Although there are indicators of historical floods on Mars, presently, water primarily exists in the form of icy soil and sparse clouds.
|Successful Mars Mission||Nations/Agencies|
|NASA (USA)||Marine series; Viking series; Pathfinder; Rovers: Spirit, Opportunity (2003); Phoenix (2007); Curiosity (2011); Maven (2013-14); Perseverance (2021).|
|European Space Agency (EU)||Mars Express (2001)|
|ISRO (India)||Mangalyaan (MOM) (2014)|
|UAE||Amal (Hope Mission) (2021)|
|China||Tianwen 1 (2021)|