"The ice is concentrated in layered deposits at the poles, and also found in the shallow sub-surface at middle latitudes, as in our study".
According to new research, a sizable portion of this water ice is very near the surface, only a few feet below in some places.
"Here we have what we think is nearly pure water ice buried just below the surface".
Scientists, using a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) spacecraft, have discovered thick deposits of ice beneath the surface of Mars. If this discovery gets confirmed, it augurs well for future missions to the Red Planet.
Researchers broke the news in a journal report published Thursday, revealing the ice sheets they found just below the surface extend about 300 feet down and could explain much about the planet's past climate.
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"Mars is cold and dry, with most of the H2O in the form of ice, and a little water vapour in the atmosphere", Colin Dundas, lead author of the study from the US Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center, told IBTimes UK.
Eight scarps, with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, reveal new information about the internal layered structure of previously detected underground ice sheets in Mars' middle latitudes, the U.S. space agency said.
Although HiRISE images appear black and white when viewed separately, each image is taken using a special filter, which focuses on one part of the spectrum of light. With this combination, normal surface dust and minerals come out as the peach colour, while water ice stands out bright blue.
The surface of the planet had been mapped by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in much detail and Dundas and his colleagues used its pictures to locate exposed ice in small craters, glaciers and ice sheets. The 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. "Humans would then drink the water or break it down into hydrogen and oxygen, which could then be used to make breathable air and methane for rocket fuel". "You don't see a high-tech solution", Byrne added.
"Humans need water wherever they go, and it's very heavy to carry with you".