Mars Express Radar Indicates a Liquid Lake Under the South Pole


It took years of patient analysis, but today a team of Italian scientists announced that an Italian-U.S. radar instrument, MARSIS-which has been observing Mars since 2005-finally found what it was looking for: a lake of liquid water a mile below the Martian surface near the planet's south pole.

Australian experts have applauded the find, saying the discovery of liquid and frozen water resources is key due to their ability to produce fuel and provide life support for astronauts during deep space missions, allowing lower cost launches and space operations.

Either way, the discovery greatly increases the chances of extraterrestrial life existing on Mars.

After seeing what possibly could be dark streaks of salty water that flowed down the Martian dune during warm seasons, the planetary scientists were certainly delighted.

Chevrier's work, funded by NASA, has involved studying the effects of salt on the stability of liquid water under conditions like those on Mars.

Associate Professor Alan Duffy, lead scientist of Australia's science Channel, said the ending of Total Recall where Arnold Schwarzenegger melted vast ice reserves just became less science fiction and more science fact.

The European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter has been circling Mars since 2003.

The potential body of water
The potential body of water

"This lake, if it really is there, would be a prime place to look for life - after all, we have similar things on Earth, like the lakes buried beneath Antarctica, and life has been found to exist and thrive down there".

The device that can be credited for the new discovery of the liquid lake on the red planet is called the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding instrument (MARSIS) and was held on the orbiter known as the Mars Express, which was deployed by the European Space Agency.

The Italian Space Agency (ISA) says it's found the first proof of water on Mars.

Rebecca Mickol, a former UA graduate student, and Tim Kral, a UA biological sciences professor, wrote about the possibility of certain types of microorganisms surviving and growing on Mars in studies published this year by the academic journal Planetary and Space Science. It was home to plenty of liquid water and lakes at least 3.6 billion years ago.

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. "What helped the liquid water to be stable?"

According to the BBC, the research team estimates that this area is between -10 and -30 degrees celsius, far below the regular freezing temperature for water. "Most importantly, this allows liquid water, essential for life", said Patel.

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