A frozen sea, surviving as blocks of pack ice, may lie just beneath the surface of Mars, suggest observations from Europe's Mars Express spacecraft. The sea is just 5� north of the Martian equator and would be the first discovery of a large body of water beyond the planet's polar ice caps.

Images from the High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express show raft-like ground structures - dubbed "plates" - that look similar to ice formations near Earth's poles, according to an international team of scientists.

But the site of the plates, near the equator, means that sunlight should have melted any ice there. So the team suggests that a layer of volcanic ash, perhaps a few centimetres thick, may protect the structures.

New Scientist 'Pack ice' suggests frozen sea on Mars - Breaking News


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