Scientists discover 'giant liquid water lake' on Mars

Image Source NASA  JPL-Caltech  MSSS  MGN

The find is consistent with what scientists have been saying for years about the prospects for subsurface water on Mars, and is likely to give a boost to the search for Red Planet life. But a body of liquid water has remained elusive for decades. The weight of kilometres worth of ice above it could also be keeping the water in a liquid state, the researchers say. What they're calling a 20km wide "lake" can apparently be found under the planet's south polar ice cap. There have been various reports over the years of finding evidence that water ONCE existed in large quantities on the Red Planet. Water is considered a fundamental ingredient for life.

But what about life on Mars? "There's enough energy, but the problem we ran into is we didn't have a hydraulic system to keep it going".

Having the possibility of accessing water sources could also help humans to survive in a future manned mission to this neighboring planet of Earth.

Mars researcher Ali Bramson is a graduate associate at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson. But, he cautions, "I'd say it's not quite the smoking gun".

"We came thus to the conclusion that the only possible explanation for the bright reflection was the presence of liquid water", he said. Researchers have also likened the discovery to Antarctica's Lake Vostok.

Lake Whillans is buried some 800m below the ice in West Antarctica.

If microbial life forms are there, it is a matter of debate.

The technology was initially developed so the military could locate mines, but today, GPR is used in all sorts of applications, such as finding avalanche victims, micro-fissures in constructions, small archaeological objects - and, now, water on Mars! In comparison, salty ocean water freezes at 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That suggests that the water is brim full of salts, allowing it to melt. Similar organisms could survive just fine in the lake.

Much like our own ice sheets, the polar ice caps change depending on the climate and act as archives for what has happened in the past.

Scientists aren't even exactly sure what to call the body of water, which they detected by analyzing radar echoes gathered over three years by the orbiting Mars Express spacecraft. The discovery of the lake, more specifically, was based on information collected by the instrument between May 2012 and December 2015.

Why Twitter wont ban Trump even after threatening Iran
Iran has rejected talks with the U.S. , and Mr Rouhani has accused the USA of stoking an "economic war". Mr Pompeo said: "The proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government's many abuses".

For the past 12 years MARSIS has mapped the Martian underground using beams of low-frequency radar pulses, which can penetrate up to several kilometers beneath the surface.

A screengrab from animation of the Martian poles with ice caps.

And today it has been announced that scientists have discovered large pools of liquid underneath the planet's polar ice caps. The analogous Antarctic lakes are chock full of minerals that make them extremely briny-around 200 PSU, or practical salinity units.

Ground-penetrating radar works by measuring what's known as permittivity, which describes the electrical properties of a material through which radar travels. The higher the chances of liquid water at a site, the more important it is to explore it. The antenna on the spacecraft receives the radar waves returned by the rock before the pulse returned by the water.

The Mars Express hasn't been alone in its quest.

Outside experts have not been able to confirm these findings with other radar detections, like SHARAD, the Shallow Radar sounder onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Artistic impression of the Mars Express spacecraft probing the southern hemisphere of Mars, superimposed to a color mosaic of a portion of Planum Australe. "The main difference between the two radars is the wavelength", Holt said.

"If there's really liquid water at the base, it should be showing up in SHARAD", Holt said.

The surface is mostly ice and dust for about 1.5 kilometers, but as the radar went deeper the scientists detected a layer that had a particularly bright reflection. So far, more than 400 such lakes have been found beneath the surface of the frozen continent. Truth is, with the current technology on Mars, we can not be certain that water has been found, but several signs are pointing that way. It's the most obvious question on everyone's mind right now. Drilling down to the reservoir would be a straightforward solution, but the technical challenges of drilling miles deep a foreign planet are daunting. Could there be life there, beneath the ice? Sending such a payload to Mars would be prohibitively expensive. We're living in very interesting times!

Related News:

  • Samsung Galaxy X said to be the firm's first gaming phone

    Samsung Galaxy X said to be the firm's first gaming phone

    So just one day before it gets to the stores, you will be able to book this Galaxy Note 9 as well as you consider it necessary. While BOE might be an unfamiliar name to many people in the USA , it is the world's top large panel maker for TV screens.
    North Korea's Kim Jong Un says soldiers' diets should be improved

    North Korea's Kim Jong Un says soldiers' diets should be improved

    Analysts, however, have expressed skepticism that the North is willing to give up its hard-won nuclear weapons. North Korea has begun dismantling its main nuclear test site, research group 28 North said Monday.
    China Rejects Donald Trump's Accusations Of Currency Manipulation

    China Rejects Donald Trump's Accusations Of Currency Manipulation

    Benchmark 10-year US notes last fell 14/32 in price to yield 2.8968 percent, from 2.847 percent late on Thursday. The BOJ, in turn, offered to buy an unlimited amount of five- to- 10-year Japanese government bonds on Monday.
  • A day after Facebook's rout, Twitter plunges on weak user numbers

    A day after Facebook's rout, Twitter plunges on weak user numbers

    The company said it is now challenging more than 9 million questionable accounts a week, up from 6.4 million last December. Chief executive Jack Dorsey said that Twitter prioritises the long-term health of the platform over short-term metrics.
    New Fiat Chrysler boss must deliver Marchionne plan

    New Fiat Chrysler boss must deliver Marchionne plan

    From 2015, he also led Ram , producing big pick-ups and vans under the Chrysler badge after it and Fiat had merged in 2014. Another position vacated by Marchionne was as Chairman of truck and tractor maker CNH Industrials.
    Old anti-Obama tweets go viral after Trump threatens Iran

    Old anti-Obama tweets go viral after Trump threatens Iran

    Iran has rejected talks with the US , and Rouhani has accused the USA of stoking an "economic war". Sanders said that "if anybody's inciting anything, look no further than to Iran".
  • White House bans CNN reporter from press event for 'inappropriate' questions

    White House bans CNN reporter from press event for 'inappropriate' questions

    By Obama's second term, frustrated reporters crafted a list of what it considered best practices for a president. But that's where aligned interests, and sometimes the dignity of the occasion, ends.
    Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas engaged: USA  media reports

    Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas engaged: USA media reports

    As soon as the news of her engagement came out, now the buzz is that the lovebirds will exchange vows in October this year. Both Nick and Priyanka set the tongues wagging when they first made a public appearance together at last year's MET gala.
    Trump Tweets: ‘Tariffs Are the Greatest’

    Trump Tweets: ‘Tariffs Are the Greatest’

    In a statement , Cramer welcomed the assistance package but offered a caveat: "At the end of the day we want trade not aid". The aid package, set to begin in September, is mostly created to help soybean farmers, dairies and pork producers.
  • North Korea Returns Remains of US Troops

    North Korea Returns Remains of US Troops

    The small wooden caskets were draped in the United Nations flag and carried carefully one by one from the aircraft onto USA soil. North Korea's Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during their summit meeting in Singapore on 12 June 2018.
    21st century's longest lunar eclipse on Friday: Bengaluru gears up

    21st century's longest lunar eclipse on Friday: Bengaluru gears up

    Friday's moon will be a rare one to behold as Britain experiences a blood moon or, as astronomers term it, a total lunar eclipse . Mr Kirkley said that the sunrise would begin during the eclipse which would "wash out" the colours of the moon as it turned red.
    Cubs give boy signed baseball after social media outrage

    Cubs give boy signed baseball after social media outrage

    Luckily, the story has a happy ending because the Cubs saw what happened and had a signed baseball delivered to the child. The clip soon went viral, with sports site Cut4 tweeting: 'When going to a baseball game, DON'T be this guy'.


Most liked

U.S. wants a fair trade deal, Trump tells European Union leaders
Trump and Juncker said they have agreed to work toward "zero tariffs" and "zero subsidies" on non-automotive goods. Trump has taken aggressive action on trade, slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

2nd lunar eclipse of 2018 is 21st century’s longest
When this happens, the moon turns rusty orange or deep reed in color and is how it earned the nickname of a blood moon eclipse. During that time, vast amounts of very hot gases, including water vapour, were emitting from the Moon.

Egyptian zoo denies their 'zebra' is a donkey after photo goes viral
The image, showing the animal with smudges on its face, attracted attention online before experts gave their view on its species. But, according to a yarn from Oddity Central , the park's director Mohamed Sultan "flat-out denied rumors" about the fake zebra.

Facebook (FB) Stock Sinks as Revenue Misses Expectations
In North America, the daily user number was flat at 185 million, and in Europe it actually declined by three million people a day. Facebook has been an omnipresent part of American news for what seems like all of 2018, and rarely with a positive connotation .

EU’s Barnier rejects key part of British Brexit trade plan
Insisting there was no sidelining, Raab said later there was no tension and that he will attend all meetings with May. There will be no net reduction to staff numbers in Mr Raab's department, she said.

Officials release redacted 911 call about Lovato emergency
Describing him as appearing "very down", a source told E! "Wait, no sirens please, right?" she can be heard saying. Lovato turned down the help. "I lived fast and I was going to die young", she told American Way of her past self.

It’s way too soon to declare Trump’s trade war over
The administration has slapped tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods and China retaliated with duties on soybeans and pork. Trump says it would be good if they removed all tariffs and trade barriers as part of the discussions.

Liverpool Will Win The Premier League According To % Of Bets Made
Shoulder-wise, he had no problems. "Football is like it is, but Loris is still a really good goalkeeper", he said. This was the foundation that allowed Sturridge to play (and score) at the 2014 World cup for England.

Donald Trump postpones second summit with Vladimir Putin until next year
Among the pollsters, 51 per cent said Mr Trump has weakened USA leadership overseas , while 35 per cent said he strengthened it. The White House said last week that Trump had directed Bolton to invite Putin to Washington for a meeting in the fall.

Anthony Martial leaves Manchester United pre-season tour early
Manchester United star Anthony Martial has left the club's pre-season tour of the United States of America for personal reasons according to reports.

Trump lashes ex-lawyer, says taping of client 'perhaps illegal'
If campaign funds were used, that could run afoul of federal election law, according to legal experts. Trump said Saturday it was "totally unheard of & perhaps illegal" for a "lawyer to tape a client".

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil makes first public appearance since controversial Germany withdrawal
Ozil also received support from the president of the Football Federation of Turkey, Yildirim Demiroren. Ozil won't play against Atletico but could feature against PSG on Saturday.

A Medical Expert Weighs In on Demi Lovato's Apparent Overdose
In an interview with Jonathan Ross , she thanks her fans for being there when she was at one of her lowest points with addiction. Lovato earned praise and more hit songs for her collaborations with the electronic music groups Cheat Codes and Clean Bandit.

Black Ferns beat France to win women's Rugby World Cup Sevens
Overall, the Black Ferns Sevens scored 16 tries and 102 points across their first two fixtures. The Black Ferns Sevens face Mexico in their opening match of the World Cup on Friday night.

Pundits Question Whether Trump Team Leaked News of Bombshell Tapes
It could also further entangle the president in a criminal investigation that for months has targeted Mr Cohen. The tabloid sat on the story, preventing it from being made public in a practice known as "catch and kill".