Mars Express Spacecraft Has Discovered Liquid Water Ponds Buried Under the Martian Surface

Mars Express Spacecraft

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Artist’s impression of Mars Express. The background is based upon a real picture of Mars taken by the spacecraft’s high resolution stereo video camera. Credit: Spacecraft image: ESA/ATG medialab; Mars: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft has actually found a number of ponds of liquid water buried under the ice in the south polar area of Mars. The spacecraft’s radar instrument, MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding), exposed one underground tank in 2018, buried about 1.5 km listed below the ice. Now, considering more information and examining it in a various method, 3 brand-new ponds have actually been found. The biggest underground lake steps about 20 x 30 km, and is surrounded by a number of smaller sized ponds. The water is believed to be really salted in order for it to stay liquid at cold temperature levels.

Mars was as soon as warmer and wetter with water streaming throughout the surface area, just like early Earth. While it is not possible for water to stay steady on the surface area today the brand-new outcome opens the possibility that a whole system of ancient lakes may exist underground, maybe millions or perhaps billions of years of ages. They would be perfect areas to look for proof of life on Mars, albeit really tough to reach.

Subglacial lakes are likewise understood on Earth, like Lake Vostok in Antarctica. They might harbor special communities, supplying helpful examples for astrobiologists checking out how life can make it through in severe environments. The methods utilized to evaluate the radar information on Mars resemble those utilized in examinations of subglacial lakes in Antarctica, Canada and Greenland.

Reference: “Multiple subglacial water bodies below the south pole of Mars unveiled by new MARSIS data” 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