Radar Probe Reveals Huge Reservoir of Liquid Water Under Mars’ Surface

This image made available by NASA shows the planet Mars

When Orosei and his colleagues analyzed the data, they saw what looked like a lake of water about 12 miles in diameter and a mile below a surface layer made up of water ice and dust.

What they believe to be a lake sits beneath the Red Planet's south polar ice cap, and is about 20km across.

Liquid water is essential for all forms of life that we know of. It was home to plenty of liquid water and lakes at least 3.6 billion years ago.

Lead author Roberto Orosei surveyed a region called Planum Australe, located in the southern ice cap of Mars, from May 2012 until December 2015.

Between 2012 and 2015, the team obtained 29 radar samples and used them to map the subsurface almost one mile deep in the area and about a dozen miles wide.

"It's a very exciting result: the first indication of a briny aquifer on Mars", says geophysicist David Stillman of Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, who was not a part of the study.The findings, if confirmed, would mark the detection of the largest body of liquid water on Mars today reports Marina Koren in The Atlantic.

"After years, literally a couple of years of.discussion, debate, and let's say general head scratching, we really felt confident that any other explanation would fail", Orosei says.

"Caution needs to be exercised, however, as the concentration of salts needed to keep the water liquid could be fatal for any microbial life similar to Earth's".

An underground salt-laden lake has been found on Mars, according to Italian researchers. "And if you have conditions for life in one area of the planet that is in hydraulic continuity with other areas where liquid water also exists, you could have a very substantial subsurface biosphere that has survived since the planet's early history". 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.

"It's plausible that the water may be an extremely cold, concentrated brine, which would be pretty challenging for life", explained Dr Claire Cousins, an astrobiologist from the University of St Andrews, UK.

"Water is there. We have no more doubt", co-author Enrico Flamini, the Italian space agency's Mars Express mission manager, told a press conference.

Ground-penetrating radar uses the method of sending radar pulses towards the surface and timing how long it takes for them to be reflected back to the spacecraft, and with what strength. It will require flying a robot there, which is capable of drilling through 1.5 kilometers of ice.

"For more than three decades, planetary scientists have wondered whether that similarity extends to hidden lakes beneath the ice-caps, as we find under Earth's Antarctic ice-sheet".

But it's a clue to how the terrain of Mars developed and to the planet's long term climate. Certain areas had "a greater intensity (bright reflections) than the surrounding areas and the surface", intimating at the existence of liquid.

There is already speculation about the presence of these "extremophiles" in the salty subsurface oceans discovered inside some of the icy moons in our solar system. "Moreover, it provides a valuable confirmation that the water that once flowed abundantly over the Martian surface in the form of seas, lakes and rivers filled the voids in the subsurface".

Beneath this, researchers spotted something unusual 1.5km beneath the ice.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top House Republicans introduce articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein
Jul 26, 2018 - 15:32
Democrats charge that Republicans are targeting Rosenstein because they're trying to undercut Mueller's probe. Rosenstein has overseen the special counsel's probe since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Brics investment deals good news for poor South Africans
Jul 26, 2018 - 10:41
Trade wars should be rejected because there will be "no winner" from them, Chinese President Xi Jinping said. Summit watchers say his blunt rhetoric will influence this year's summit.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Dominic Rabb answers question over his 'Brexit demotion'
Jul 25, 2018 - 18:39
Ministers are still being persuaded that Theresa May's Chequers agreement is a good idea, the new Brexit secretary had said. Raab met the EU's top negotiator Michel Barnier for the first time this week and will return for further talks on Thursday.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Man laughs after snatching baseball from little boy at game
Jul 25, 2018 - 17:13
However, the kid did not catch the ball, and it rolled under his seat to the row behind him. "TV got this all wrong", Mycoff said. Well, according to David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago, the man who was vilified had given the boy a baseball earlier in the game.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Federal aid to Iowa farmers provides 'short-term fix... not a long-term solution'
Jul 25, 2018 - 15:43
The tariffs came in response to $34 billion worth of duties the Trump administration placed on Chinese products. Kansas Senator Pat Roberts said, "Once you lose a market you lose it".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Israel approves Apartheid law, global Jewish groups back BDS
Jul 25, 2018 - 13:11
The Israeli parliament Knesset adopted on Thursday, a law on the national Jewish character of the State of Israel . Sixty-two legislators of the 120 voted for the bill , 55 against it, and two abstained.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Demi Lovato overdose not caused by heroin
Jul 25, 2018 - 09:26
Many other stars felt this way, telling the 25-year-old through their social media accounts that they were "rooting" for her. Bollywood actress Priyanka and her boyfriend Nick Jonas have also sent prayers to the pop star through their tweets.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jimmy Kimmel Shreds Trump's Double Standard On Russia And Iran
Jul 24, 2018 - 20:58
In a separate development on Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Iranian regime "resembles the mafia more than a government".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top United Kingdom and European Union behaving ‘recklessly’ over crime-fighting after Brexit
Jul 24, 2018 - 20:57
But he acknowledged that on the Irish border issue, at least, "further talks will be necessary to reach practical solutions". Nigel Evans offered his support to Dominic Raab, who replaced David Davis as the Brexit Secretary earlier this month.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Toronto gunman who killed two identified
Jul 24, 2018 - 20:44
In total, 16 people suffered gunshot wounds, including the shooter. "There were cops everywhere", he said. In case you were wondering, gun laws in Canada are almost nonexistent compared to any large, USA city.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Weather: Overnight storm bringing rain, gusty winds
Jul 24, 2018 - 20:39
Highs will be slightly cooler but still think we'll be in the low to mid 90s with heat indices in the upper 90s to around 100°. The threat of showers will wind down and end tonight as temperatures fall into the low to mid-60s under partly cloudy skies.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tesla's call for suppliers to refund cash 'reeks of desperation'
Jul 24, 2018 - 18:57
FILE PHOTO: A row of new Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles is seen at a parking lot in Richmond, California, U.S. Based on the WSJ report, suppliers appear reluctant to compromise their own profitability to buoy Tesla .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump should disclose details of conversation with Putin, - ex-head of Central Intelligence Agency
Jul 23, 2018 - 14:45
Asked whether he agreed with that statement , Barletta's campaign said "Russia is clearly an adversary of the United States". It remains to be seen if Trump will take questions this week, or if press secretary Sarah Sanders will hold daily briefings.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump threatens Iran with consequences 'few have ever suffered before'
Jul 23, 2018 - 14:16
In social media posts and speeches, Pompeo himself also appeals directly to Iranians, the Iranian diaspora and a global audience. Some of the information the administration has disseminated is incomplete or distorted, the current and former officials said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Liverpool 1-3 Borussia Dortmund: Pulisic scores twice against depleted Reds
Jul 23, 2018 - 14:05
Better was to follow for the American, a target for Sunday's opponents, as he put the Germans into the lead with a minute to play. Milner nearly doubled the lead in the 56th minute but the midfielder's 25-yard curler narrowly cleared the crossbar.