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Mars Express discovers subsurface ice
Posted: Thu, Dec 1, 2005, 7:20 AM ET (1220 GMT)
Mars Express in orbit (ESA illustration) ESA's Mars Express spacecraft has detected what scientists believe to be deposits of water ice below the surface of the planet. Project scientists said Wednesday that the spacecraft's radar instrument has detected a subsurface interface between two different materials, thought to be ice and bedrock, below the surface of layered terrain surrounding the planet's north pole. So far the radar has not detected any liquid water below the surface. The radar has also identified a buried impact basin in the northern plains of the planet, suggesting that it may be just one of many such hidden impact craters. Other results from the mission, also released Wednesday, include evidence that liquid water was stable on the surface over long periods early in the planet's history and the discovery of a new layer of the planet's ionosphere.
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