Monday, 15 October, 2018

Mars Has a Lake of Liquid Water

Representative Image Representative Image
Frank Williams | 27 July, 2018, 05:17

The proposed "lake" sits beneath the planet's south polar ice cap, and is about 20km (12 miles) across. "But analogous environments like Lake Vostok show us that such habitats can host hardy microbial life". Announced today at a press conference in Rome, the results are detailed in a study appearing in the July 26 edition of Science.

Scientists used radar to probe the Martian polar ice caps and have found a lake like structure just under the surface on Mars.

Whether below an Earthly glacier or a Martian ice cap, the mechanism for melting is much the same: heat trickling up from below combines with the vast bulk of an insulating blanket of material pressing down from above to form lakes of meltwater.

The team from Italy studied radio echo sounding data recorded between 2012 and 2015 by the Mars Express spacecraft.

Orosei said the scientists checked other possible explanations, like carbon dioxide ice, for the bright reflections, but those did not match the radar observations. It was home to plenty of liquid water and lakes at least 3.6 billion years ago. On top of that, the presence of salts on Mars made it ideal to keep any water liquid, even at freezing temperatures.

However, within a 20 km-wide zone a particularly bright radar reflection underneath the layered deposits is revealed.

The Red Planet was likely once rich in liquid water much like Earth, but has since become arid and desolate. The discovery is sure to intensify the hunt for other buried layers of water that might be more hospitable.

New findings from Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.

Trump says China is targeting United States farmers, being ‘vicious’
China alone imported $12.3 billion in soybeans previous year , according to the U.S. The auto tariffs would have significantly raised the stakes in the dispute.

"This is now our best, albeit slim chance of discovering life elsewhere in our Solar System until the more complex missions to Europa or Enceladus, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn we also believe have subterranean water sources".

This discovery of a salty subsurface lake, on an object much closer to the Sun, and much larger than a moon, is even bigger news.

Researchers have finally found the evidence they've been looking for - a body of water on Mars.

For now, one of our most concrete ways to confirm water findings will be to send a robot to the surface to look for it.

Marsis was not able to determine how thick the layer of water might be, but the research team estimated that it was a minimum of one metre.

ESA's ExoMars rover, due for launch in 2020, will be equipped with a drill that can go 6 feet (2 meters) beneath the Red Planet's surface. For example, a radar wave that travels through rock will reflect the penetrating pulses back to the antenna more quickly than those that travel through water.

Authors of the Science paper, "Radar Evidence of Subglacial Liquid Water on Mars", include Orosei, Flamini and Cicchetti, plus S.E. Lauro, E. Pettinelli, M. Coradini, B. Cosciotti, F. Di Paolo, E. Mattei, M. Pajola, F. Soldovieri, M. Cartacci, F. Cassenti, A. Frigeri, S. Giuppi, R. Martufi, A. Masdea, G. Mitri, C. Nenna, R. Noschese, M. Restano and R. Seu.

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