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Liquid water bodies found under Mars surface

Date: 02 October 2020 Tags: Space

Issue

The European Space Agency (ESA)'s Mars mission Mars Express has discovered several liquid bodies under the South Pole of the red planet using its Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) instrument.

 

Background

The findings give fuel to previous studies that have suggested at the presence water on Mars. 

 

Details

  • The ESA mission has found a large liquid body, separated from other smaller liquid bodies by dry patches.

  • The MARSIS instrument on ESA's Mars Express spacecraft functions by sending radar pulses that can penetrate the surface and ice caps of Mars.

  • This is not the first time such a discovery has been made. In 2018, researchers used the same MARSIS instrument had announced that they have found a vast lake beneath the surface of Mars.

  • However, that study was questioned by experts who express doubts over the nature of the liquid body. They weren't sure if scientists have enough details to prove if it is a water body.

  • Researchers studied the data based on techniques borrowed from Earth satellites to study lakes beneath the Antarctic glaciers.

  • The researchers were able to analyse the data sent by MARSIS that examined a huge array around the body on Mars.

  • This allowed them to determine that the findings are that of a liquid body. The other wet areas talked about earlier were just a number of other patches that were separated from the main body by dry areas, which together appear to make up a patchwork of various salty lakes.

  • The findings could be key in the search for alien life on Mars, given that life as we know it required liquid water to survive.

  • It will also prove to be a massive milestone to Mars colonisation plans that space agencies have been chasing after for years now.

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