Two years ago astronomersThis is what a large lake underneath a thick layer of ice in Mars’ Antarctica. Now scientists have discovered and confirmed three new subterranean lakes in the same area and believe that there could be more.
New research published in the journal this week Natural astronomy, Further confirms the 2018 discovery, expanding that discovery to three new ponds in the surrounding area. Researchers European Space AgencyMars Express spacecraft studying 134 observation data sets from 2012 to 2019.
To detect the lake, Mars Express’ radar equipment sent radio waves across the red planet’s surface and reflected in a certain way depending on the material present there. A similar method is used to find lakes under glaciers on Earth.
The high reflectivity detected by the research team suggests trapped large liquid water beneath the surface.
“The possibility of an extended oversalt water body on Mars is particularly interesting because of the possibility of microbial life.” “Future exploration to Mars will target this area and need to collect experimental data related to the underlying hydrological system, its chemical and traces of space biological activity.”
The largest lake found is about 19 miles in diameter and is surrounded by several small ponds. Researchers believe that the water there is salty, so it can remain liquid even at Mars’ cold temperatures.
Very high salt content can mean there is no life.
“There isn’t much active life in this brine pool in Antarctica,” said John Priscu, environmental scientist at Montana State University in Bozeman, a group of groups that study microbiology in icy environments. nature. “They are just pickled. It could be. [on Mars]. “
Scientists believe this discovery suggests the possibility of a much larger network of ancient underground lakes that could be millions or even billions of years when Mars, like Earth, was warmer and wetter.
Water cannot remain stable on Mars’ surface because there is currently no significant atmosphere, but the presence of liquid water on Mars means it has life potential. The lake under the glacier allows researchers to investigate how life can survive in extreme environments, but it is very difficult to get there because it is buried a mile below the ice layer.
“There must have been a lot of water on Mars,” said Elena Pettinelli, planetary scientist at the University of Rome, co-author of the study. “If there was water, there was a possibility of life.”
However, not everyone is confident in the data. Mike Sori, planetary geophysicist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, told Nature: