(ORDO NEWS) — Earlier, we repeatedly said that once upon a time the ocean splashed on Mars and it rained. However, a lot of time has passed since then and the planet has changed a lot.
The presence of a large amount of water on the planet is now only evidenced by sedimentary rocks, ice deposits at the poles, as well as canyons and valleys that have preserved traces of once massive water flows.
But is liquid water left somewhere on Mars now, except for individual streams that periodically appear as a result of the melting of ice under the influence of the Sun?
At the moment, water has not been found, but this does not mean that it does not exist at all.
According to scientists, a large lake may be under a one and a half kilometer ice cap at the south pole of the planet. But how big are the chances that liquid water still exists on the red planet?
What did the Mars locator find?
A few years ago, the Mars Express orbiter, equipped with the MARSIS radar, discovered something unusual under the red planet’s southern ice cap.
There was a strong reflection of the radio signal under the ice layer. According to the properties of the echo, it looked like the signal was reflected from the water.
In itself, the presence of water under the ice is not surprising.
However, it should be borne in mind that the temperature at the poles of Mars is extremely low, much lower than even in Antarctica. Therefore, under a very thick layer of ice, water can hardly remain liquid.
As a result, experts strongly doubted that the locator had detected water. But where did the unusual reflected signal come from then?
Scientists have suggested that the whole point is the superposition of signals from different layers of ice, as well as various rocks.
Does water exist on Mars
Not all experts refute the possibility of the existence of water on Mars under the ice cap. In particular, recently an article appeared in the journal Nature Astronomy in which a group of scientists reports that there is still a lake at the south pole under the ice layer. Moreover, such conclusions were not made at all on the basis of the locator data.
In their article, scientists analyzed the relief of the surface of the ice cap. But what about the surface?
The fact is that the presence of water under the ice is necessarily reflected in the relief, even if the thickness of the ice is more than one kilometer.
At first glance, this seems to be something unrealistic. However, under the influence of gravity, the ice on the planet is in motion.
And, as you might guess, they move faster on the water surface than on the dry one, since the resistance on the water surface is much lower.
As a result of different speeds of ice movement, the relief on the surface is also different. At least that’s what happens on Earth. But why should these processes take place differently on Mars?
There are no objective reasons for this. Therefore, scientists decided to simulate the movement of ice on the red planet with the presence of water under the ice, and without it.
The results obtained were compared with the real ice relief at the South Pole.
As it turned out, in those areas where the device recorded something similar to water, the relief was characteristic of ice, under which there is water.
Thus, scientists have already found the second serious confirmation that there is water on Mars.
Where did liquid water come from on Mars?
If liquid water really exists on the red planet, then the question arises, where did it come from, because the low temperature should have turned it into ice?
So far there is no explanation for this. However, we recall that scientists recently discovered liquid water in the Arctic, which literally spouted fountains from wells drilled in the ice.
Theoretically, this should not have happened, since the temperature here is also well below zero, and the thickness of the ice is hundreds of meters.
Presumably this is due to the fact that the saline solution is highly saturated with gases. However, this is still only an assumption; there is no exact explanation for this phenomenon yet.
But, in any case, this find in the Arctic suggests that liquid water may be on Mars. It is quite possible that in the future scientists will find out why water does not freeze, and then everything will fall into place.
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