It is well known that there is water on Mars, but most of it is found in the cold polar regions of the ice. The solid state of water was not found on the surface near the equator because the temperatures there are not low enough for the ice to be stable.
The FROD neutron telescope, located at TGO, “revealed an unusually large amount of hydrogen in the colossal system of the Valles Marineris canyons. Assuming that the hydrogen we see is bound in water molecules, up to 40 percent of the material near the surface in this area appears to be water, ”said Russian expert Igor Mitrofanov, who is conducting research with the FREMD telescope and is also the lead author of the relevant scientific study.
A probe that sees beneath the surface
Mitrofanov added that the TGO probe would reach up to a meter deep below the dusty surface of Mars when examined. It is thus possible to “see what is really going on beneath the surface of Mars – and above all to locate ‘oases’ rich in water that could not be detected by previous instruments.”
The goal of the ExoMars program is to look for signs of possible life on Mars in the past, to study changes in the planet’s water and geochemical environment, and to identify atmospheric trace gases and their sources. At the same time, technologies for future sample missions from Mars to Earth are being tested.
How to Know Mars
The first phase of the ExoMars mission began in March 2016, when the TGO satellite with the Schiaparelli module set out for the red planet. While the satellite had successfully settled in the planned orbit after six months, the surface reconnaissance module broke on a failed landing.
The second stage is a rover named after the British scientist Rosalinda Franklin, who is to fly to Mars next year. According to ESA, it will be the first mobile automated researcher to study the surface of the red planet and its depths. Rover is expected to be able to dig to a depth of two meters, take soil samples, analyze their composition and search for possible evidence of past — and perhaps even present — underground life.