The exposed deposit of water ice is more than 100 meters thick.
New satellite imagery of jagged swaths of Mars' surface has revealed the existence of massive bodies of water ice, a possible prelude to exciting new discoveries about whether life ever existed on the planet.
"This ice is a critical target for science and exploration: it affects modern geomorphology, is expected to preserve a record of climate history, influences the planet's habitability, and may be a potential resource for future exploration", the study says. The water could be used for drinking and potentially conversion into oxygen to breathe.
Colin Dundas and a team of researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey announced their findings today, saying a number of ice deposits - some at depths as shallow as one or two meters below the planet's surface - have been exposed by surface erosion.
Which sounds great until one considers what every traveller to high alpine or polar climes knows: ice is less dense than water and it takes energy to melt it.
Incredible images from NASA have revealed eight ice sites going as deep as 100 metres and just a few feet below the surface.
Elon Musk, chief executive of SpaceX, has also discussed plans for private manned missions to Mars. Dundas says ice at the surface is changing from strong into vapor, making the inclines fall and turn out to be additionally uncovered.
When NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft arrived on the planet in 2001, it found traces of hydrogen on the red planet through its gamma-ray spectrometer.
Additionally, the scientists discovered the ice sheets in eight difference places that could be future sources of water for astronauts. Some of that ice was then covered up by the movement of dirt on the surface of the planet, saving it from sublimating - turning straight from a solid into gas. That snow, over many years, has been compacted and "transformed into massive ice sheets, now preserved beneath less than 1 to 2 meters of dry and ice-cemented dust", according to the study.
The MRO, a spacecraft created to conduct reconnaissance and exploration of Mars from orbit, has been taking pictures to locate exposed ice in craters, glaciers and ice sheets.
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