Scientists believe liquid water to be sporadically located near the equator of Mars. Is the water believed to be above-ground and if so do we know how deep? Or is it just within the soil near the surface?

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    $\begingroup$ Whoooa. Slow down! So many questions packed into one! $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, they don't think there is liquid water: mars.jpl.nasa.gov/news/whatsnew/… $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ @GdD It is still very possible in that article they state ""Some type of water-related activity at the uphill end still might be a factor in triggering RSL" $\endgroup$
    – Aaron M
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronM maybe you can narrow your question a bit so it can be addressed with a straightforward answer. You can always ask more questions based on that answer. For example, go where most probable and pose a threat could be a very nice separate question - this one about Mars the next one about missions. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 2:39
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronM: especially that people often know answers to some of your questions, but not others - and are hesitant to post what would be a partial answer. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 9:39

1 Answer 1


Liquid water is under debate, but not likely on the surface of Mars.

Seasonal dark streaks on Mars that have become one of the hottest topics in interplanetary research don't hold much water, according to new findings from a NASA Mars orbiter.


However, recent observations have yielded a large resevoir of ice just beneath the surface, between 3 to 33 feet deep.

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, researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have determined.

Scientists examined part of Mars' Utopia Planitia region, in the mid-northern latitudes, with the orbiter's ground-penetrating Shallow Radar (SHARAD) instrument. 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. The deposit ranges in thickness from about 260 feet (80 meters) to about 560 feet (170 meters), with a composition that's 50 to 85 percent water ice, mixed with dust or larger rocky particles.

At the latitude of this deposit -- about halfway from the equator to the pole -- water ice cannot persist on the surface of Mars today. It sublimes into water vapor in the planet's thin, dry atmosphere. The Utopia deposit is shielded from the atmosphere by a soil covering estimated to be about 3 to 33 feet (1 to 10 meters) thick.



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