• News
  • Science

Giant Liquid Water 'Lake' Discovered On Mars

Giant Liquid Water 'Lake' Discovered On Mars

A screengrab from animation of the Martian poles with ice caps. The only way we can put life on the planet in the future is to ensure without a doubt that there had been no life on it in the past.

Lake beds like those explored by Nasa's Curiosity rover show water was present on the surface of Mars in the past.

All of that water is either locked up in solid form, however, or locked away in the distant past. This was taken up by Percival Lowell, who used the idea of canals to promote the idea in his book Mars and its Canals(1906) that there was a vast and lush ecosystem on Mars, complete with life intelligent enough to make planet-spanning canals to take water from the poles to irrigate canals.

"This subsurface anomaly on Mars has radar properties matching water or water-rich sediments", says Roberto Orosei, principal investigator of the MARSIS experiment and lead author of the paper published in the journal Science today. The study area is highlighted using a THEMIS IR image mosaic.

Bramson said better understanding of the water ice layers and sequestered carbon dioxide in the south polar cap of Mars, which affect radar signals, could help clarify what lies below the surface. USGS Astrogeology Science Center, Arizona State University, ESA, INAF.

Between March 2012 and December 2015, the researchers got 29 sets of radar readings from Mars's Planum Australe, the southern polar plain.

The body of water is about 12.5 miles across and sequestered beneath almost a mile of ice at the south pole.

"All the technology to drill through this ice to the lake doesn't exist yet so it will probably take at least another 25 years before we will be examining this".

Salts in the lake are believed to have kept the water - which has a temperature as low as -68C (-90F) - from freezing over.

The proposed "lake" sits beneath the planet's south polar ice cap, and is about 20km (12 miles) across. An underground lake was found near here. "This is something that is to us the tell tale sign of the presence of water", Prof Orosei said.

So the researchers did a rough calibration by registering the signal that bounced back when the radar hit the atmosphere/dusty ice boundary at the Martian surface, since the composition of these materials is pretty well understood.

"It sticks out like a sore thumb in the radar data", she said. The brightest reflections are centered around 193 degrees E/81 degrees S in the intersecting orbits, outlining a well-defined, 20 km-wide zone. The radar cross section has been tilted 90°. The blue triangle indicates an area of very high reflectivity, interpreted as being caused by the presence of a reservoir of water, about a mile below the surface. It was the first-ever radar sounder brought to another planet, but the team was unable to determine if it detected water on Mars until now. With the stunning findings, that debate is likely to be put to bed.

The question would be, Orosei added, whether any life forms that could have evolved long ago on Mars have found a way to survive until now. Researchers have also likened the discovery to Antarctica's Lake Vostok. "This is certainly not a very pleasant environment for life ..."

According to early hypotheses, however, the lake is most likely too cold and salty to sustain any sort of life. It is about 20 km across, say the researchers in a release.

Leave Your Comment

Leave Your Comment

Latest News

Breaking News


Manchester City will not break any more records, says Pep Guardiola

Manchester City have been linked with a £72m move for the 28-year-old Bosnia worldwide after missing out on Jorginho to Chelsea . City manager Guardiola, however, could not be prouder of the record-setting Premier League champions post-match.

Winthrop man wins $3M Mega Millions prize

The Mega Million jackpot won Tuesday night had been accumulating since it was last won in May in Ohio. Two of those tickets were purchased with the Megaplier option, multiplying the prizes to $30,000.

Man explodes small device outside US Embassy in Beijing

According to the U.S. embassy spokesperson, the only person injured was the individual who detonated the explosive device. An explosion has taken place outside the US Embassy in Beijing , eyewitnesses have said.

Total lunar eclipse on July 27: What you need to know

This will be a historical eclipse as it will last three hours and 55 minutes, making it the longest eclipse of this century. As the Moon continues on its orbit, and pulls away from the Umbra, stargazers will notice another partial lunar eclipse.

Lawyer says there are other Trump-Cohen 'tapes'

He is under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan over payments he made to women who allegedly had affairs with Trump. The recordings were handed over to the government on Friday, the retired judge overseeing the review, said in her one-page order.

Hillary Clinton guest spot on 'Madam Secretary' hyped with epic photo

When TV's Madam Secretaryneeds help, she's going to get in touch with real life's own secretaries. Hillary Clinton served under Barack Obama as secretary of state from 2009 to 13.

Anthony Martial leaves Manchester United's tour to attend child's birth

Manchester United finished in second place in the Premier League table last season to finish above Spurs and Liverpool FC. And according to TransferMarketWeb , Manchester United are trying to woo him to Old Trafford.

Mollie Tibbetts: Full Story & Must-See Details Of Missing IU Student

Authorities in central Iowa are still searching for a University of Iowa student who went missing earlier this week. Authorities have spent the past five days combing every field, barn, shed and building near the missing girl's home.

Republicans back arming toddlers in Sacha Baron Cohen's hoax

In a clip from " Who Is America? ". "If they do a good job, maybe I'll send them a thank-you note", Arpaio said. Ex-Republican congressman-turned-radio host Joe Walsh also throws his weight behind Morad.

Rescue crews search for missing in Greek wildfires

Burnt-out cars were scattered outside gated compounds where three- and four-storey buildings bore signs of fire damage. Some householders took up hosepipes to douse the fires while police assisted with the evacuation of some areas.