Study reveals likelihood of ice caves on Mars


Scientists believe that ice caves may be found in the known lava tubes on Mars; such ice caves could harbor Martian life, and would be useful to future space explorers. (Courtesy NASA)

A recent study co-authored by LASP researcher Brian Toon used models to predict which regions on Mars could have ice caves. Ice caves are sometimes found on Earth in lava tubes left over from previous volcanic activity; on Mars, these ice caves could allow ice to exist in middle latitudes, where many lava tubes have been found.

Toon said, “Martian ice caves would be important for two reasons: first, as a water source and protective home for future space explorers, and second as a good place to look for the possibility of life on Mars.”

The study was published in the October issue of Icarus. For more information, please contact the LASP press office at 303.735.5814 or

Williams, K.E., Christopher P. McKay, O.B. Toon, and James W. Head. 2010. Do ice caves exist on Mars? Icarus, Vol 209, Oct 2010, Pages 358-368. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2010.03.039