NASA: Mars' hidden ice deposit has as much water as Lake Superior

According to NASA, Mars is home to an ice deposit that has about as much water as Lake Superior. The ice deposit was found using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's ground-penetrating radar, says the space agency, with the deposit itself being located in the planet's Utopia Planitia region. The sheet of soil covering the ice deposit prevents it from being turned into water vapor.

The ice deposit was discovered via the Shallow Radar Instrument (SHARAD) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. According to NASA, more than 600 passes with the instrument gathered data that was ultimately used to determine the deposit's existence. The soil covering this deposit is said to be between 1 and 10 meters deep, while the ice deposit itself ranges from 80 meters to 170 meters thick.

This particular water deposit is thought to have formed long ago in Mars' past at a time when the axis was tilted differently than it is now. Snow likely mixed with ice and dirt, with the snow and ice eventually becoming thoroughly covered by the soil. Otherwise, given its particular location, the ice would have been rendered into water vapor over time, eventually being lost from the planet.

Ice deposits like this — that is, ones located relatively close to the planet's surface — could one day be a source of water for astronauts living on the Red Planet. This certainly isn't the only ice located on Mars, but it is said to be one of the most easily accessible among the ones discovered, making it of particular interest for space agencies and companies.