Ice deposit on Mars has 'as much water as Lake Superior'

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Scientists recently assessed how much water Mars is packing beneath its rocky surface, and it turns out it's a lot.

According to NASA, "Frozen beneath a region of cracked and pitted plains on Mars lies about as much water as what's in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes."

With the help of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the team took a close look at the Red Planet's Utopia Planita region.

NASA notes, "Analyses of data from more than 600 overhead passes with the onboard radar instrument reveal a deposit more extensive in area than the state of New Mexico."

Some areas were determined to be up to 560 feet thick and comprised of half to 85% water ice.

Cassie Stuurman, one of the study's authors, said, "This deposit probably formed as snowfall accumulating into an ice sheet mixed with dust during a period in Mars history when the planet's axis was more tilted than it is today."

See more stunning photos of Mars:

11 PHOTOS
NASA releases new photos of Mars
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NASA releases new photos of Mars

Edge of North Polar Erg Dubbed Windy City

(NASA)

Landforms at West End of Her Desher Vallis 

(NASA)

Small Tributary Deposit and Transverse Aeolian Ridges in Nirgal Vallis 

(NASA)

Gullies in Dunes Dubbed Kolhar

(NASA)

Dunes Dubbed Tleilax 

(NASA)

Gully Monitoring 

(NASA)

Terrain Near Peneus Patera 

(NASA)

Clean Exposures of Light-Toned Chaos Blocks in Gorgonum Chaos

(NASA)

Syria Planum Bedform and Albedo Changes 

(NASA)

Variety of Spider Features 

(NASA)

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