This throws a wrench into my summer vacation plans…
Using observations by NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter, scientists have discovered that water ice lies at variable depths over small-scale patches on Mars.
The findings draw a much more detailed picture of underground ice on Mars than was previously available. They suggest that when NASA’s next Mars mission, the Phoenix Mars Lander, starts digging to icy soil on an arctic plain in 2008, it might find the depth to the ice differs in trenches just a few feet apart. The new results appear in the May 3, 2007, issue of the journal Nature.
"We find the top layer of soil has a huge effect on the water ice in the ground," said Joshua Bandfield, a research specialist at Arizona State University, Tempe, and author of the paper. His findings come from data sent back to Earth by the Thermal Emission Imaging System camera on Mars Odyssey. The instrument takes images in five visual bands and 10 heat-sensing (infrared) ones.