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Possibility Of Liquid Water Detected Beneath Mars Surface
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Possibility Of Liquid Water Detected Beneath Mars Surface

Water Detected Beneath Mars Surface

Mars Lake Party 2020

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced data that may point to the possibility of liquid water present beneath the surface of Mars. This announcement sent shockwaves throughout the world and sparked the imaginations of stargazers everywhere.

 

Mars Express Mission Details & Findings

The radar data collected by ESA’s, Mars Express mission, indicate exciting features that scientist say look like a pond of liquid water buried under layers of ice and dust in the south polar region of Mars. The radar imaging shows that south the polar region of Mars could be made of many layers of ice and dust down to a depth of about 1.5 km in a 200 km-wide.

 

Radar imaging of Martian surface. Photo by European Space Agency.

 

The finding is based on data from the European Mars Express spacecraft, obtained by a radar instrument called MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding). The Italian Space Agency (ASI) led the development of the MARSIS radar.

 

Mars Express with its two 20 m-long radar booms. Photo by European Space Agency

 

The ground-penetrating radar sent radar pulses towards the Martian surface and timed how long it toke for them to be reflected back to the spacecraft and with what strength. Different materials return different signals that can be used to map the subsurface topography.

 

Image of layered deposits at the south pole of Mars. Photo by European Space Agency.

 

Could There Be Life On Mars?

The presence of liquid water at the polar ice caps of Mars has long been suspected. From studies on Earth, we know that there are many examples of water under glacial surfaces. For example, Lake Vostok, one of Antarctica’s largest underground lakes was discovered using similar radar imaging experiments used on Mars.

“The bright spot seen in the MARSIS data is an unusual feature and extremely intriguing,” said Jim Green, NASA’s chief scientist. “It definitely warrants further study. Additional lines of evidence should be pursued to test the interpretation. We hope to use other instruments to study it further in the future.”

One of those instruments will be on NASA’s InSight mission to Mars later this year. NASA’s InSight lander will include a heat probe that will burrow down as far as 16 feet (5 meters) below the Martian surface.

If in fact water is present on the Martian polar caps, then maybe microbial life exists or has existed in the past on Mars.

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