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.
To detect it, a group of 12 scientists used data and 3D images from two orbiting spacecrafts that examined eight locations with erosion. They found the ice at the northern and southern hemispheres of Mars, which is equivalent to Earth’s regions like South America or Scotland, and believe it could “be a useful source of water for future human exploration of the red planet,” they wrote.
"It's looking more encouraging that water ice could be available at depths shallow enough that could be used as resources for human missions to Mars," Angel Abbud-Madrid, the director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines, told National Geographic.
In 2016, a NASA study said ice may yield more water per scoop than minerals, which means the H20 could be more difficult to access. However, their recent discovery, which suggests the ice is only a few feet below the surface, could make the water much easier to funnel.