Scientists have been looking for signs of water on Mars since they first began observing the Red Planet through a telescope. And as it turned out, Mars does have water. Water in the form of ice is locked on polar caps and buried under the Martian surface. And if the observations made by Mars Express prove to be true, then these ancient hills can hide deposits of ice.
The image above shows a look at the southern end of a long chain of hills in the northern hemisphere of Mars called “Phlegra Montes”. This high resolution photo was taken with a Stereo Camera mounted aboard the Mars Express. Photo resolution is about 15 meters (50 feet) per pixel.
Color topographic map of the southern region of Phlegra Montes These rounded hills, scientists believe, were once covered with glaciers during the Martian ice age several hundred million years ago. Like the Earth, the axis of rotation of Mars has “fluctuations” that affect its global climate over long periods of time. Although there are currently no glaciers in the mid-latitudes of Mars, there are geological evidence that they were there and the shape of the surface around Phlegra Montes suggests to us that ice can still be hidden under its surface.
The remains of garbage around some hills remind us of the processes taking place in some glacial regions of the Earth, where underground ice causes the surface to crumble.