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Geography

Underground Lake Found on Mars

  • 26 Jul 2018
  • 2 min read

Using a radar instrument on an orbiting spacecraft, scientists have spotted a sizable salt-laden lake under ice on the southern polar plain of Mars.

  • It represents the first stable body of liquid water ever found on Mars.
  • The body of water has been called a possible habitat for microbial life.
  • The reservoir is roughly 20 km in diameter, shaped like a rounded triangle and located about 1.5 km beneath the ice surface.
  • If confirmed, the buried pocket of water could answer a few questions about where Mars’s ancient oceans went, as well as provide a resource for future human settlements.
  • Moreover, such a feature may be an ideal habitat for extraterrestrial life-forms.
  • However, the researchers have said, it could take years to verify whether something is actually living in this body of water that resembles a subglacial lake on Earth.
Note:
  • The evidence comes from an instrument called MARSIS aboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet. MARSIS is a special kind of radar called ground-penetrating radar.
  • Ground-penetrating radars use radio signals that are capable of penetrating into the ground and then get reflections from the material under the surface.
  • Such radars are useful when searching for liquid water because water is a very strong radar reflector.

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