Ancient underground lakes found on Mars

The title of this beautiful ESA image of the Martian surface is Cappuccino Swirls at the South Pole of Mars.

ESA / DLR / FU Berlin / Bill Dunford

Be sure to pack arm flotations and a really big exercise when you visit Mars. The whole world of water-filled lakes on the dry and dusty red planet is hiding beneath the southern ice cap.

A new study led by researchers at Roma Tre University in Italy has strengthened the case. 2018 Discovery of a lake hidden under the Mediterranean ice, And then expands to include three new lakes.

The researchers used radar data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter to investigate the origin of the liquid water.

Now, considering more data and analyzing it differently, three new lakes have been found, the ESA said in a statement Monday. The team published its study in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday.

The lakes seem to be hidden under a huge layer of ice. The largest lake is about 19 miles (30 kilometers) long with a range of smaller lakes around it.

Researchers expect that water must be incredibly saline to remain liquid at low temperatures. A different The 2019 study suggests volcanic activity Will help keep the water cool, but the current paper has fallen heavily into the concept of salt.

“While it is not possible for surface water to remain stagnant, the new result opens up the possibility that the entire system of ancient lakes may have existed underground, perhaps millions or billions of years old,” the ESA said.

Humans are busy finding signs of life – especially evidence of ancient microbes – on Mars. NASA’s new Perseverance Rover will continue this discovery From the surface of the red planet. Liquid reservoirs will be a particularly attractive place to explore life, but these lakes are very difficult to reach. There is 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) of snow.

We won’t get any major answers from the Martian South Pole anytime soon, but it could give us a future target for research once our technical challenge is completed.