Scientists Find Cluster of Underwater Lakes on Mars
Scientists have found a network of salty liquid water lakes on Mars beneath the planet's south pole
ROME — Scientists have found a network of salty liquid water lakes on Mars beneath the planet's south pole, according to new research published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy.
An international team examined radar data from MARSIS, short for Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding. This instrument on the Mars Express orbiter bounces radio waves off the surface and measures their echoes to image geological structures.
Two years ago, these investigations revealed a subglacial lake 1.5 kilometres below the surface. The lake is in a region called Ultimi Scopuli near the red planet's south pole and measures about 20 kilometres across. Further investigations and analysis of new data from Mars Express have found three additional salty lakes, each a few kilometers wide.
This water would likely be saturated with salts, which would keep it liquid at temperatures as low as 150 degrees Kelvin. Life exists in subglacial lakes on Earth, like Lake Vostok in Antarctica, so these Martian lakes could harbor remnants of life that evolved when the planet had a more hospitable climate and liquid water on the surface.
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