Satellite data has picked up evidence of a lake on the south polar ice cap of Mars, covered under a thick layer of ice. Though water has been found on the red planet in the past, this is the first time the water isn’t frozen or seasonal. NASA’s Curiosity Rover had found that liquid water does flow intermittently on Mars and it also detected that water had existed there in the past, but if water is still there, it would mean it has likely been constant throughout Mars’ 4.6 billion year history. If that’s the case, the possibility of life is much more likely.
The discovery was made by Italian scientists who were analysing images from a Mars Express spacecraft. Professor Roberto Orosei from the University of Bologna described the new finding as being “Anomalously bright subsurface reflections are evident within a well-defined 20-kilometre-wide zone.. which is surrounded by much less reflective areas. Quantitative analysis of the radar signals shows that this bright feature has high relative dielectric permittivity (electrical polarisation) matching that of water-bearing materials. We interpret this feature as a stable body of liquid water on Mars.”
🇮🇹E' la prima volta che viene trovata acqua liquida. L'osservazione è stata fatta dal radar italiano Marsis. Individuato un bacino a un chilometro e mezzo di profondità. Un lavoro di squadra: Asi, Esa, Inaf, Sapienza, Roma Tre, Cnr. E' un lago simile a quelli terrestri. Si trova però al polo sud di Marte, sotto a uno strato di ghiaccio di un chilometro e mezzo. Ha una ventina di chilometri di diametro e una temperatura di almeno dieci gradi sottozero. La pressione del ghiaccio sovrastante e la presenza di sali disciolti (magnesio, calcio e sodio sono elementi di cui è ricco il suolo del pianeta) gli permette di restare liquido nonostante il freddo. Sulla Terra, in Artide come in Antartide, si conoscono decine di laghi subglaciali simili. In alcuni vivono colonie di batteri estremofili, capaci di cavarsela anche al freddo e al buio. 🇬🇧It is the first time that liquid water is found. The observation was made by the Italian Marsis radar. Identified a basin one kilometer and a half deep. Teamwork: Asi, Esa, Inaf, Sapienza, Roma Tre, Cnr. It is a lake similar to the terrestrial ones. However, it is located under the south pole of Mars, under an ice sheet of one and a half kilometers. It has twenty kilometers in diameter and a temperature of ten degrees below zero. The pressure of the overlying ice and the presence of dissolved salts (magnesium, calcium and sodium are elements of which the planet's soil is rich) allows it to remain liquid despite the cold. On Earth, in Arctic as in Antarctica, dozens of similar subglacial lakes are known. In some live colonies of extremophile bacteria, able to survive even in the cold and in the dark. #mars #marsexploration #marscolonization #marscolony #lakeonmars #esa #nasa #asi #inaf #wateronmars #lifeonmars #life #space #spacex #universe #astronomy #astronaunt #redplanet #redplanetisfulloflife #marsisfulloflife #instalike #curiosity #instapic #firstpic #l4l
All that’s left is for space authorities to definitively confirm the body of water is there so they can really begin the search for life on Mars. Since the water beneath the surface of the Martian south pole may be as low as 30 Celsius, it’s not too cold for life to survive. We do not know for sure if it is inhabited, but it’s a very promising place to look for life.
Featured Image Credits: Instagram/nasa
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