Water Bodies on Mars

Water Bodies on Mars

According to a new study, water bodies got discovered under the south pole of Mars. The trust in previous research on the availability of saltwater lake under the Martian surface, boosted by this study. The researchers are working to find alien life on Mars as life requires liquid water for survival.

Also, Read this: Was Mars covered in Ice Sheets? Was MARS a White Planet?

New researches are indicating the presence of water on Mars. So, the future work focused on the chemistry of Mars and to find any traces of alien life or astrobiological activity on Mars.

Water Bodies on Mars

Instrument Used

The latest research made using MARSIS, known as the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding, which is onboard the Mars Express spacecraft sent by the European Space Agency to orbit around Mars. This instrument sends the radar pulses that can penetrate the surface and ice caps of Mars. These pulses are then measured when they bounce back towards the spacecraft. In this way, researchers can hunt the planet even without going there.

The same device was used in 2018 when the researchers announced they had found a large lake under the surface of Mars. It was considered a breakthrough in the search for alien life on the planet. But the study, also questioned by experts who wondered whether the scientists had gathered enough detail on the nature of the body to know for sure whether it was a body of liquid water.

Water Bodies on Mars

New Findings

In this new study, a team of researchers led by Elena Pettinelli from Roma Tre University used techniques borrowed from Earth satellites to study the lakes beneath Antarctic glaciers. It allowed them to analyze data from MARSIS, which examined a massive array around the body they had found on Mars. By doing this, they confirm that it was the liquid body.

The team also finds some patches separated from the main body by dry areas, which together appear to make up a patchwork of various salty lakes. The team confirmed the position, extent, and strength of the reflector from our 2018 study. They also found three new bright areas.

Water Bodies on Mars

Professor Pettinelli

The team head Professor Pettinelli said:

“Smaller bodies of liquid water surround the main lake, but because of the technical characteristics of the radar, and its distance from the Martian surface, we cannot conclusively determine whether they are interconnected,” she said in a statement.”

The data appears to indicate that the bodies are hypersaline solutions (a brine in which high concentrations of salt, dissolved in water),  which is perhaps the reason they can stay liquid despite the icy conditions of Mars’s south pole.

The fact that there is a whole set of lakes suggests that they have probably formed relatively quickly and that versions may have been present throughout the history of the planet. If that was the case, then they could have served as home for alien life that flourished when Mars was more easily habitable – and those lakes that are left behind could be a shelter for whatever life is still around.

Roberto Orosei

Roberto Orosei, a principal investigator of the MARSIS experiment, said:

“Existence of a single subglacial lake attributed to exceptional conditions such as the presence of a volcano under the ice sheet. The discovery of an entire system of lakes implies that their formation process is relatively simple and common and that these lakes have probably existed for much of Mars history.” 

For this reason, they could still retain traces of any life forms that could have evolved when Mars had a dense atmosphere, a milder climate, and the presence of liquid water on the surface, similar to the early Earth.

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