Spacecraft Detects “Hidden” Water Deposits On Mars

New Scientist reports:

A region of the Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars, one of the biggest in the solar system, appears to contain large amounts of water locked just beneath the surface, making it potentially useful for future astronauts.

This is far from the first time researchers have seen water on Mars, but previous discoveries have been concentrated at the poles or deep underground, rather than relatively accessible at the equator.

CNET reports:

Valles Marineris is so massive, NASA has called it “the Grand Canyon of Mars.” Except it’s much, much bigger than the US landmark. The Mars version stretches over 1,860 miles (3,000 kilometers) in length and reaches down as far as 5 miles (8 kilometers).

The water found in Valles Marineris might be tied up with minerals, but the researchers say it’s more likely to be in the form of ice. That leads to questions about how the water ice is preserved in an area of Mars where it would be expected to evaporate.