Lake found on Mars by scientists

Radar has found liquid water on Mars, but don't expect anyone to drink it

That's because it's well below the freezing point of water; the only thing stopping it from turning to ice is a mix of toxic salts. It's not very big, but it is described as a proper body of liquid water probably around 22 metres wide and at least a metre deep. "There are all the ingredients for thinking that life can be there, or can be maintained there if life once existed on Mars". The subsurface lake, Diez says, may be similar those found via radar-sounding on Earth beneath ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland. That data revealed what appears to be evidence of liquid water sitting trapped beneath the ice on the planet's pole.

The Planum Australe lake may not be the only sub-surface body of water on Mars, but MARSIS is limited by its spatial resolution, which would prevent it from finding bodies of water smaller than the Planum Australe lake.

"There's nothing special about this location other than the MARSIS radar on the Mars Express spacecraft is most sensitive to that region meaning there are likely similar water deposits below the ground all across Mars". Whether life has ever existed on Mars remains an open question, and is one that Mars missions, including the current European-Russian ExoMars orbiter and future rover, will continue to explore.

Fred Watson, from the Australian Astronomical Observatory in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, says Mars has many striking similarities with our own planet.

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But does this mean there's other life out there? If life did arise from those early, cosy conditions, it could have moved underground as the surface cooled and dried. Several craft have taken radar measurements and have arrived at no conclusive evidence of liquid water.

The current findings, however, "cannot say anything more", Flamini said.

"This is the place on Mars where you have something that most resembles a habitat, a place where life could subsist", said planetary scientist Roberto Orosei of Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica in Italy, who led the research published in the journal Science. That is tens of billions of gallons.

To find the water, Italian researchers analysed radar signals collected over three years by the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft. But the scientists figured out how to send back the raw data to Earth.

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"This water would be extremely cold, right at the point where it's about to freeze".

The water would be a brine mixed with perchlorate salts.

"Water tends to collect in lower topography", Orosei said. That's because the radar works best at night and when it's within 500 miles of the planet's surface. The radar reflected the feature's brightness, signaling that it's water. The brightest reflections are centered around 193 degrees E/81 degrees S in the intersecting orbits, outlining a well-defined, 20 km-wide zone.

Higher frequency radar pulses are not able to penetrate deep enough to detect the boundary between ice and liquid beneath the polar cap, and so SHARAD has been unable to detect this lake. "You have a lot of interfaces that could do odd things to radar signals", said Zurek, who was not involved with the research.

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It turns out that tell-tale chemical signature is shared by the MFF, which scientists think was once as large as approximately 50 percent of the area of the United States. "That's the hard part". It's a discovery that adds to the speculation that there could once have been life on Mars, and raises the possibility that it might be there still today, since liquid water is an essential ingredient for life.

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