Tech UPTechnologyMaybe there is more water on Mars than we...

Maybe there is more water on Mars than we thought

Nearly three years after scientists confirmed that Mars still has lakes filled with liquid water, a new study suggests there may be more water than we thought, including ‘dozens’ of lakes just over a kilometer below its surface.

Experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory analyzed data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter and observed dozens of radar reflections around the Martian south pole similar to the discovery made in 2018.

“We’re not sure if these signals are liquid water or not , but they appear to be much more widespread than the original paper found,” said Jeffrey Plaut, a co-author of the study. “Either liquid water is common below the south pole of Mars or these signs are indicative of something else.”

The area that could contain the liquid water lakes is small: only 10 to 20 kilometers from the south pole, according to the authors.

In Mars’ past, it had a lower axis tilt, allowing snow and dust to settle in the layered deposit region of the south pole . If the water is really liquid, it may be due to volcanic activity or something else. Volcanism, maybe?

Unfortunately no solid evidence of recent volcanism has been detected at the South Pole, so it seems unlikely that volcanic activity allows liquid subsurface water to be present throughout this region,” they clarify.

What explains the bright reflections if they were not liquid water? Scientists aren’t sure, but this map “takes us a few steps closer to understanding both the scope and the cause of these puzzling radar reflections,” says Plaut.

Referencia: Characteristics of the Basal Interface of the Martian South Polar Layered Deposits Aditya R. Khuller, Jeffrey J. Plaut F irst published: June 2021 https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL093631

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