According to a study led by researchers from University of Texas PhD student Cassie Stuurman , based on outflow channels formed early in the planet’s history, that Mars once had liquid water in such abundant quantities that the whole planet could have been covered by hundreds of meters of water.
The research was published September 26, 2016 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.The presence of water underground in this region may have implications for future human explorations of Mars.
SHARAD, specifically, is capable of telling the difference between the solid and liquid state of water. Based on the data gathered by SHARAD, it appears that all water in on Mars is currently in a solid state as ice.
WHAT NEW STUDY SUGGESTS
According to the new Study, Water ice makes half or more of an underground layer in a large region of Mars about halfway from the equator to the planet’s North Pole. The amount of water in this deposit is about as much as in Lake Superior, which holds 10% of Earth’s surface fresh water and by volume is Earth’s third-largest lake, behind Lake Baikal in Siberia and Lake Tanganyika in eastern Africa.
While most of the water has since been lost to space, significant amounts remain in the form of water ice on both of Mars’ poles. The ice sheet is estimated to be as thick as 560 feet. This means it holds much potential water content if melted. NASA’s MRO and its scientific payload can analyze layers and layers of Martian soil including those composed of liquid and frozen water.