From NASA's Treasure Map for Water Ice on Mars:

"You wouldn't need a backhoe to dig up this ice. You could use a shovel," said the paper's lead author, Sylvain Piqueux of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Part of treasure map

The image above is part of the Treasure map for Water ice, Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

On the blue part in the centre of the image lies Nier crater, which means that the buried ice there lies 0.2-0.3 m below its floor.

Gullies Nier crater
Part of ESP_016521_2235, Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Click on the image, and then again, for a closer view.

The image above shows gullies on the northern slope of Nier crater, so likely there's been flowing water before !

Nier crater (43.1⁰ N, 106.0⁰ E),with a diameter of 46 km, could be one of the most suitable for a local weather experiment because a part of ts floor lies more than 6300 m below the vertical datum and the height from the lowest floor to the lowest part of the rim is about 1800 m (according to Mars Trek).
(Together with a crater 600 km to the east it has the lowest elevation on Mars between 45⁰ N. and 25⁰ S.)

This means, depending on temperature, the pressure at its floor could be higher than 1 kPa and according to this Steam tables calculator, water could then still be a liquid above 6⁰ C!

I think the rim height would be an important factor to keep evaporating water or ice inside the crater walls, another one would be the considerable temperature difference between the surface and the atmosphere a few hundred meters above.

With the main purpose to investigate the available amount of ice for future ISRU, a robotized backhoe or excavator sent to Nier crater would uncover the buried ice and at least for several hours round noon on summer days the ice would melt or sublimate and the water could evaporate and possible a haze would form.

In short, when sufficient cover would be removed, couldn't a unique local weather system in Nier crater be created, worthwhile to be investigated?

All sorts of inquires could be made like:

  • Because of the high reflectivity of ice, would it melt and would the liquid evaporate at all?
  • When that would happen, would then a haze be created that would further melt the ice, because of the greenhouse effect?
  • Would dust devils still originate on the ice plain?
  • Would the evaporated water form ice crystals on the dust particles in the atmosphere and cause snowfall ?
  • Would indeed Nier crater be deep enough to keep the water inside ? (measured on a human time scale)

Articles related with weather and climate inside a crater:
The diverse meteorology of Jezero crater ove the first 250 sos of Perseverance on Mars and
The impact of a shadows scheme on a Mars mesoscale climate model



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