(ORDO NEWS) — In front of you is an ice cap at the south pole of Mars (picture below). Analysis of this area by a laser altimeter aboard the NASA Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) orbiter revealed features that, according to computer simulations, definitely indicate the presence of a subsurface reservoir of liquid water.
This reservoir, according to the researchers, may be a lake. Yes, yes, friends, you heard right! There may still be liquid water on the Red Planet, which is no doubt attracting the attention of astrobiologists who are driven by the idea of searching for life beyond Earth.
Hidden lake of Mars
The ice cap at the south pole of Mars, or more precisely, the area hiding under it, became the object of close attention in late 2005, when the radar instrument (MARSIS) of the Mars Express Orbiter of the European Space Agency revealed an approximately 20 km structure, lying at a depth of about 1.6 kilometers.
The radar signatures of the Martian structure matched the radar signatures of subsurface water bodies here on Earth.
MGS joined the case, which confirmed the correctness of the data provided earlier by Mars Express. After that, both spacecraft continued to conduct long-term observations of the south pole of Mars, collecting additional data that excite the imagination.
“By combining topographic and radar data with simulation results, we conclude that it is highly likely that at least one reservoir of liquid water exists on Mars today,” the study authors wrote.
To date, it has been clarified that the structure lies at a depth of about 1.5 kilometers, has a length of up to 15 kilometers, and its surface shows fluctuations that can be observed over subglacial lakes on Earth.
A giant subglacial lake on Mars that has remained liquid for millions or even billions of years… just imagine what that means if the researchers are right! This is probably the best place to look for not only traces of ancient extraterrestrial life, but also its still living representatives.
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