The key to successful implementation of manned missions ..
Of course, the above statement does not mean that there is no water on Mars. Due to the radar data of various space probes, it has long been known that on Mars water is even in the form of ice, especially at its poles. However, water in the form of ice on the Red Planet is present not only in the ice caps visible in the pictures of Mars. This one is also below the surface of the planet.
Because water ice is a very good heat conductor under Martian conditions, the scientific instruments of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and 2001 Mars Odyssey probes could see the ice below the planet's surface by measuring this heat. Using data collected by the probes and comparing this data to information obtained by other instruments, scientists from NASA created a special map that shows where under the surface of Mars there is probably water ice. This map can be a useful tool for astronauts who will visit the planet in the futureand who will look for water sources on it.
"You won't need an excavator to dig that ice. Just a shovel. ", said one of the authors of the paper describing the map. "We're still collecting data on ice buried beneath the surface of Mars, looking for the best places where astronauts should land."
Map published by NASA. Ice is closer to the surface with cold colors, and ice deeper with warm colors. Black indicates areas of fine dust where a landing vehicle could sink. The region surrounded by a white frame is the best place to land astronauts – there should be the most ice. | Source: NASA
As you can read from the NASA map, the warmer regions of Mars near the equator are not would work best as astronaut landing sites. As most water ice appears to be around the poles, these areas are best suited for landing sites. The poles, however, are more attractive also because the atmosphere above them is thicker, thanks to which the vehicle landing on Mars will slow down better.
In the near future, NASA researchers want to see how the content of water ice under the surface of Mars changes throughout the year. This data will also be extremely important in the implementation of the manned mission, which the Red Planet will be the target.
And when will the first astronauts be sent to Mars? Initially, NASA planned to carry out such a mission for 2030, however, due to delays due to the planned return to the moon it will not take place earlier than in 2035. SpaceX wants its vehicles to take the first people to Mars already in 2024but time will tell if this idea has any chance of succeeding.