JUL 31, 2018 05:16 PM PDT

Underground Lake of Briny Water Detected on Mars

There’s seemingly endless evidence that water once flowed on the Martian surface, and in addition to that, many theories exist concerning the presence of water just beneath the planet’s surface. But these things aside, detecting liquid water on Mars has been an ongoing challenge for researchers.

With that in mind, it’s not difficult to understand why the first-ever detection of liquid water beneath Mars’ surface is receiving loads of attention as of late. The findings appear in the journal Science.

Here we see the potential liquid water stores underneath Mars' polar ice caps.

Image Credit: USGS Astrogeology Science Center, Arizona State University, INAF

After spending almost two years analyzing radar data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft, a team of researchers led by Roberto Orosei of Italy’s National Institute of Astrophysics in Bologna say they’ve found evidence for a briny lake residing about a mile underneath Mars’ polar ice caps.

The researchers say they’ve ruled out the possibility that their detection could be underground ice, and instead signify that it’s a 12-mile-wide sub-surface liquid water lake. Assuming the findings are correct, then this would mark the first time scientists have found a large body of water on Mars.

“I really have no other explanation,” Orosei said.

"This is just one small study area; it is an exciting prospect to think there could be more of these underground pockets of water elsewhere, yet to be discovered."

Related: Terraforming Mars not possible with current technology, study suggests

Not only do the results set a precedent in Mars-based research, but they also breathe new life into the longstanding notion that Mars could support alien life.

“Water is there,” added study co-author Enrico Flamini.

“It is liquid, and it’s salty, and it’s in contact with rocks,” he added. “There are all the ingredients for thinking that life can be there, or can be maintained there if life once existed on Mars.”

Related: NASA's Curiosity rover discovers organic compounds and more on the Martian surface

At this point, the findings are preliminary and limited; additional research is needed to validate these claims and to test the underground environment for potential habitability.

Assuming the researchers are right on this one, then it could change how we think about Mars.

Source: New York Times, USA Today

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
If You Missed SpaceX's 'Most Difficult Launch Ever' Yesterday, Then Watch This
In case you missed it, SpaceX conducted its ‘most difficult launch ever’ last evening. The launch involved a Falcon Heavy rocket with two side...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
NASA Plans to Use a Space-Rated Drone to Study Titan
NASA is planning to develop a $1 Billion mission dubbed ‘Dragonfly’ to study Saturn’s moon Titan, a world that scientists have long thoug...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
Will India Be the First Nation to Land a Spacecraft on the Moon's South Pole?
India’s space agency, dubbed the Indian Space Research Organization (or ISRO for short), is aiming to land a spacecraft at the Moon’s South Pol...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
Say Hello to Hubble's Latest Portrait of Jupiter
NASA takes advantage of the Hubble Space Telescope’s powerful imaging capabilities to photograph both neighboring and distant objects in space, and s...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
Both Halves of the James Webb Space Telescope Joined for First Time
NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which was formerly known as the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) before getting renamed in t...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
How the Rosetta Mission Augmented Our Understanding of Comets
The European Space Agency (ESA) launched its Rosetta mission in 2004 to study the particularly captivating comet 67P, and after a ten-year journey, the mis...
Loading Comments...