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Mars Categorical Spacecraft Has Found Liquid Water Ponds Buried Beneath the Martian Floor

Mars Express Spacecraft

Artist’s impression of Mars Categorical. The background relies on an precise picture of Mars taken by the spacecraft’s excessive decision stereo digicam. Credit score: Spacecraft picture: ESA/ATG medialab; Mars: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA IGO

ESA’s Mars Categorical spacecraft has found a number of ponds of liquid water buried underneath the ice within the south polar area of Mars. The spacecraft’s radar instrument, MARSIS (Mars Superior Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding), revealed one underground reservoir in 2018, buried about 1.5 km under the ice. Now, taking into consideration extra information and analyzing it differently, three new ponds have been found. The most important underground lake measures about 20 x 30 km, and is surrounded by a number of smaller ponds. The water is regarded as very salty to ensure that it to stay liquid at chilly temperatures.

Mars was as soon as hotter and wetter with water flowing throughout the floor, very similar to early Earth. Whereas it’s not attainable for water to stay steady on the floor right now the brand new end result opens the chance that a whole system of historical lakes may exist underground, maybe tens of millions and even billions of years previous. They’d be superb areas to seek for proof of life on Mars, albeit very troublesome to achieve.

Subglacial lakes are additionally recognized on Earth, like Lake Vostok in Antarctica. They might harbor distinctive ecosystems, offering helpful analogies for astrobiologists exploring how life can survive in excessive environments. The methods used to research the radar information on Mars are just like these utilized in investigations of subglacial lakes in Antarctica, Canada and Greenland.

Reference: “A number of subglacial water our bodies under the south pole of Mars unveiled by new MARSIS information” by Sebastian Emanuel Lauro, Elena Pettinelli, Graziella Caprarelli, Luca Guallini, Angelo Pio Rossi, Elisabetta Mattei, Barbara Cosciotti, Andrea Cicchetti, Francesco Soldovieri, Marco Cartacci, Federico Di Paolo, Raffaella Noschese and Roberto Orosei, 28 September 2020, Nature Astronomy.
DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-1200-6

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