Mars is coming out of an ice age, after going through multiple stages of climate change, according to radar measurements in its polar ice sheets to a study published on Thursday, 26 of May, by the “Science” magazine. Analysis of the data indicates that the planet experienced an ice age which started out about 370,000 years.
Understand the Martian atmosphere will help determine when the planet was habitable in the past and how it has changed this state, besides serving for studies on climate change on Earth. The models suggest that the dry and dusty red planet has gone through ice ages in the past, but the empirical data to confirm it were few.
In the study, the researcher Isaac Smith, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder (United States), and his team used a radar to study the layers of ice in the polar caps of Mars, for which used the equipment of spacecraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2005 and aimed at increasing the knowledge of this planet. As the ice melts, the wind can create a spiral channels and other identifiable traits, why track these brands within the ice layer can reveal changes in flows and ice accumulation in times past and, therefore, changes in climate.
While the ice in the south is “relatively small and is altered by the impact of meteorites,” the researchers were able to map the layers within the ice in the north. Thus, they found that the layers and ice migration paths increase, change direction abruptly or are completely buried. These and other data analyzed in the study confirm, according to the researchers, the end of an ice age on Mars.