But what's thrilled scientists perhaps as much as or more than the recorded seismic activity is what the meteor uncovered when it slammed into Mars — huge, boulder-size chunks of ice blasted out of the crater. Up until now, underground ice hadn't been found in this region, the warmest part of the planet.
"This is really an exciting result," said Lori Glaze, NASA's director of planetary science, during a news conference Thursday. "We know, of course, that there's water ice near the poles on Mars. But in planning for future human exploration of Mars, we'd want to land the astronauts as near to the equator as possible, and having access to ice at these lower latitudes, that ice can be converted into water, oxygen, or hydrogen. That could be really useful."