A massive meteorite hit Mars. Then NASA made a still more important finding.

On Christmas Eve last year, the Insight Mars lander heard an earthquake blast through the surface of the red planet.

A few months later, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reportedly discovered the cause of the rumble from its perch in orbit:

a magnificent meteor strike more than 2,000 miles away near Mars' equator, which is thought to be one of the greatest impacts seen on the neighboring planet.

But what the meteor discovered when it struck Mars — enormous, boulder-size shards of ice blasted out of the crater — has possibly astounded scientists as much as 

or more than the observed seismic activity. This area, the warmest on the globe, had not yet shown any evidence of underground ice.

During a news conference on Thursday, Lori Glaze, director of planetary science at NASA, remarked, "This is truly an exciting result." "Of course, we are aware that Mars' poles have water ice.

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