Distribution of Hydrogen in the Near Surface of Mars: Evidence for Subsurface Ice Deposits

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Science  05 Jul 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5578, pp. 81-85
DOI: 10.1126/science.1073722

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Using the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer on the Mars Odyssey, we have identified two regions near the poles that are enriched in hydrogen. The data indicate the presence of a subsurface layer enriched in hydrogen overlain by a hydrogen-poor layer. The thickness of the upper layer decreases with decreasing distance to the pole, ranging from a column density of about 150 grams per square centimeter at –42° latitude to about 40 grams per square centimeter at –77°. The hydrogen-rich regions correlate with regions of predicted ice stability. We suggest that the host of the hydrogen in the subsurface layer is ice, which constitutes 35 ± 15% of the layer by weight.

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