NASA specialists made the sensational statement that great quantities of ice have been detected one meter deep under the surface of the red planet. Specialists say that, if the detected ice melted, Mars’s surface would be covered with a 500-meter layer of water.
The ice is under the red planet’s surface at a latitude of 60 degrees South. Scientists suggest at that ice can be also found in the northern hemisphere, but can not verify this because of the Martian winter.
The giant ice cluster is another confirmation of hypothesis that Earth-like life existed (or even exists now) on the planet. This information caused an increase in the talk about the possibility of sending manned exploration expeditions to Mars in the future. Some specialists suppose that NASA plans to perform an expedition of this kind within the nearest 20 years. In fact, regarding today’s level of modern technology, the operation could be performed even sooner. Director General of Russia’s Aerospace Agency Yury Koptev says that it is possible to organize a mission to Mars within the next two or three years. However, the organization of the expedition could cost $600 billion, a sum hardly available to NASA, Russia’s Aerospace Agency, or any other organization.
At the same time, NASA has more of a chance than any other organization to launch such an expedition to Mars. This is not because the USA is the world’s richest country. America would like to organize the mission for the sake of its prestige, the same way America was the first to land on the Moon.
On the whole, these are far-reaching prospects. For the time being, enthusiasts searching for life on other planets may be triumphant. After the detection of ice under Mars’s surface, we can assert that outer-space life really exists. Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/05/27/41784.html