Underground Lake of Liquid Water Discovered on Mars

first_imgStay on target NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendHubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring System “Water is [on Mars]. We have no more doubt,” co-author of a new study Enrico Flamini told a press conference. This is definitely not a drill. Thanks to new data from Mars Express, a 15-year-old satellite, researchers have announced that there is a 12-mile wide lake of liquid — yes, seriously — water below the Mars’ South Pole. If that sounds bonkers to you, it does come with some caveats, but it’s legit. So, the main things are that the lake could mean any number of things here including a slush of water and sediment. The water is also chock-full of perchlorates, toxic chemicals to us that occur naturally in Martian soil. It also dramatically lowers the freezing point of water — which is good, because that region is about -60 Celsius at the surface.Even so, this is water. On Mars. And the new research is published in Science, one of the most legit journals around. Now, the big question for a lot of people will be: If this probe is so old… why are we just now figuring this out? Well, the new data is essentially a radar analysis of this region of Mars. The scan took place between May 2012 and December 2015. Essentially, it used subsurface radar like the kind we use to scan Earth for deposits and caves of all kinds.And in this case, the scans produced a “radar profile… similar to that of lakes of liquid water beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets on Earth.” The paper adds that this suggests “that there is a subglacial lake at this location on Mars.”So yeah. That’s it. This also substantially improves the chances that we may find microscopic life on Mars. After all, there are plenty of organisms on Earth that can not only survive in a perchlorate heavy environment, but some even metabolize the salts as food. Similar organisms could survive just fine in the lake. Unfortunately, though, it’ll probably be at least a decade before we can investigate further. Now that it has been discovered, NASA’s planetary defense team will need to do quite a bit to clean probes and craft before sending them to prevent cross-contamination. STILL. IT’S WATER. LIQUID. MARS. WE. FOUND. IT.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img