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Journal Articles Geophysical Research Letters Year : 2023

A Reappraisal of Subtropical Subsurface Water Ice Stability on Mars

F. Forget
  • Function : Author
M. Vincendon
A. Spiga
E. Vos
  • Function : Author
O. Aharonson
E. Millour
A. Bierjon
  • Function : Author
R. Vandemeulebrouck
  • Function : Author

Abstract

Abstract Massive reservoirs of subsurface water ice in equilibrium with atmospheric water vapor are found poleward of 45° latitude on Mars. The absence of CO 2 frost on steep pole‐facing slopes and simulations of atmospheric‐soil water exchanges suggested that water ice could be stable underneath these slopes down to 25° latitude. We revisit these arguments with a new slope microclimate model. Our model shows that below 30° latitude, slopes are warmer than previously estimated as the air above is heated by warm surrounding plains. This additional heat prevents the formation of surface CO 2 frost and subsurface water ice for most slopes. Our model suggests the presence of subsurface water ice beneath pole‐facing slopes down to 30° latitude, and possibly 25° latitude on sparse steep dusty slopes. While unstable ice deposits might be present, our results suggest that water ice is rarer than previously thought in the ±30° latitude range considered for human exploration.
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Dates and versions

hal-04312875 , version 1 (28-11-2023)

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L. Lange, F. Forget, M. Vincendon, A. Spiga, E. Vos, et al.. A Reappraisal of Subtropical Subsurface Water Ice Stability on Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 2023, 50 (21), ⟨10.1029/2023gl105177⟩. ⟨hal-04312875⟩
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