The Curiosity rover, which is designed to explore Mars, has found an ancient oasis on Mars. Researchers working with the Curiosity rover have found salt-enriched…
It is not a secret that scientists have searched water on Mars for years, and only they found very little, either in the form of drops on the surface or frozen as ice.
But an unbelievable new discovery indicates that it is found a huge lake of liquid water on Mars. The discovery was reported in the journal Science, and researchers led by Dr Roberto Orosei from the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) in Rome say they have found a vast reservoir of water beneath the south pole of Mars.
“This is potentially the first habitat we know of on Mars,” Dr Orosei told IFLScience. “It’s the first place where microorganisms like those that exist today on Earth could survive.”
The large lake of water on Mars was found by a radar instrument, the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) instrument, on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft.
“The data showed that 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) below the surface, in a region called Planum Australe, there was a source of liquid water spanning about 20 kilometers (12 miles) across. The team do not know how deep this reservoir of water is, but note it is at least deeper than a few tens of centimeters, and possibly more”, mentions IFLScience.
“It’s very difficult to say what we’re really looking at,” Dr Anja Diez from the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø, Norway, who wrote an accompanying perspective on the research, told IFLScience. “It could either be a thin layer of water, a large layer, or water in sediments.”
Under this region on Mars, however, it’s thought the temperatures drop to about -68°C (-90°F).
“Underneath the Antarctic ice sheet, water can be at its melting point because of the ice above,” said Dr Diez. “On Mars it’s a bit different, as really cold temperatures are expected under the ice. Water can only exist because it’s briny.”
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