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Study: Ice Belt Encircled Mars' Equator

2003 Hubble photo of Mars.
Cambridge, England (UPI) Sep 13, 2005
ESA's Mars Express space probe that entered orbit at the end of 2003 may have found evidence of a band of ice that once spanned the Martian equator.

Scientists says patterns of glacial activity on the planet may be a relic of an ancient belt of ice that formed about five million years ago due to a change in the tilt of Mars. That shift caused moisture from the poles to be deposited as snow at the equator.

The idea is based on work by a team of scientists led by astronomer Jacques Laskar of the Paris Observatory.

Laskar's team has shown the tilt of Mars on its axis can vary between 15 degrees and 40 degrees, largely because of its lack of a significant moon.

Researchers also found that when Mars' tilt changed to about 35 degrees, moisture trapped at the North and South Poles might have been re-deposited in equatorial regions as snow.

Eventually, the poles may have become smaller and a thick belt of ice formed around the tropics.

The study was detailed during the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Sciences meeting this week in Cambridge, England.

All rights reserved. 2005 United Press International. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by United Press International. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of United Press International.

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Water Detection At Gusev Described - Chemical Proof For Two Wet Scenarios
St Louis MO (SPX) Sep 08, 2005
A large team of NASA scientists, led by earth and planetary scientists at Washington University in St. Louis details the first solid set of evidence for water having existed on Mars at the Gusev crater, exploration site of the rover Spirit.


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