We know of frozen water on mars earlier and large ice caps on poles. But this time liquid water is found on mars which is about 20km across and 1.5km beneath the south pole ice cap.
Marsis, a radar instrument on board the European Space Agency’s (Esa) Mars Express orbiter found it. “It’s probably not a very large lake,” said Prof Roberto Orosei from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics. Andwas not able to detect the exact depth of the lake, but the research team says it could be one meter.
Earlier Nasa’s curiosity rover detected present of water in the past history of the Martian surface in a frozen form. Which due to the thin atmosphere and the planet’s climate which is quite cold.
This is an exciting news as scientist have been searching for water on mars for quite a long time. When the first time they discovered frozen ice, they knew there was presence of water on this planet earlier. Which means there could have been life on mars in the past. With the recent discovery of organic matter found on mars scientist have been more actively searching for more evidence of life.
This created eagerness among those who are expecting life beyond earth. If water is present on mars and no life is present we would could colonize it. Or if there is some form of life swimming under that water it would be a great discovery for us.
How did they found it?
Marsis Radar used signals which bounced back to examine the surface and the immediate subsurface of Mars. This radar is designed to penetrate the ice caps and the subsurface of mars to find water.
is onboard the European Space Agency’s (Esa) Mars Express orbiter for past 15 years. It has been searching for water beneath the frozen ice. Earlier used to transmit pulses of low-frequency electromagnetic waves toward the red planet. Some of those waves interact with features at and below the Martian surface and reflect back toward the instrument, carrying clues about the planet’s geological composition. But in 2012 the software of Marsis was updated to get more detailed report of the transmitting pulses. The radar readings where similar to our earth’s radar which found the water beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.
How this would lead to more discoveries?
If this is just one lake found on mars then it is just a natures occurence, but iffound more water bodies on mars, then it is going to be a game changer for us. Either we could see possibilities of life currently on mars, or a giant leap for us to explore more.
This water cannot be used for swimming or drinking as it contains magnesium, calcium, and sodium salts, which also makes it warmer. This is the reason this water has stayed in liquid form even after the freezing temperature of -68°.
This could mean a lot of things for us, we are not alone if life is found under that lake and many more lakes if foun by Marsis, we have steped one step ahead in our exploration, or it is just a natures occurance. Either way it is a good sign for us for now.
Also published on Medium.