Under South Pole Mars found lake with liquid water

Space orbiter Mars Express European Space Agency has received evidence of reserves of liquid water under layers of ice and dust in one area of ​​the South Pole of Mars. He wrote about the opening of the official website of the European Space Agency.

Under South Pole Mars found lake with liquid water

The fact that once on the surface of Mars had liquid water Scientists have long hinted geological features in the form of ancient dried-up river beds, canals and other geological features visible from orbiters. Moreover, in tandem with the orbiter several rovers operate on the planet's surface, which is also found evidence in favor of "raw" history of the Red Planet. It indicates at least the presence of certain types of minerals that may be formed only in the presence of water pressure conditions.

According to scientists, during the existence of Mars (about 4, 6 billion years), its climate has changed and today the water in liquid form can not stay on the surface of the planet. So the researchers decided to see if there was liquid water beneath it.

Planetary long inclined to the probability of the presence of liquid water under the base of the ice caps at the poles. In the end, we know that the freezing point may be reduced under the pressure of the overlying ice. Furthermore, the presence of salts on Mars capable of even more reduce the freezing point, allowing to retain water in the liquid state even at temperatures below freezing. Until recently, data from Mars Express is installed on a dedicated radar of the European Space Agency to probe the ionosphere and the deep layers of the Martian surface (MARSIS) seemed unconvincing to scientists. To confirm their hypothesis, the researchers had to work to work on how to maximize its effectiveness and give the opportunity to collect data in such a high-resolution, in as far as is possible in this case.

Penetrating radar uses a method of sending signals through the planet's surface and calculates the time it takes for the signal reflection and return it to the spacecraft. The peculiarity of the chemical properties of elements that are on the path of the signal changes its motion. The signal may be either a dimmer, which may indicate, for example, the presence of hard rocks on its way, or even clearer or power that is to say a high reflectivity element, which reflected it. Because of this, scientists can determine what lies beneath the surface.

Under South Pole Mars found lake with liquid water

Map of the Southern Plateau and the area in which conducted the study

Sensing region width of about 200 kilometers via MARSIS showed that the south pole surface of Mars is covered with several layers of ice and dust and a depth of about 1, 5 km. A particularly powerful signal amplification reflection was recorded under stratified deposits within a 20-kilometer zone at a depth of about 1, 5 km. After analyzing the properties of the reflected signal, and examining the composition of the layered deposits, as well as the expected temperature profile beneath the surface of this region, the researchers concluded that MARSIS found beneath the surface of the pocket of the lake from the liquid water. Researchers note that the device is unable to determine how deep can be the lake, but a rough estimate of its depth should be at least several tens of centimeters (this should be a layer of water that its saw MARSIS).

Under South Pole Mars found lake with liquid water

Image with MARSIS radar

"This is a really qualifies as a reservoir. The lake, and not some kind of melt water that fills some space between the rock and ice, as is the case in certain parts of the world "- said Professor Roberto Orosei from the Italian Institute of Astrophysics, who led the study.

Under South Pole Mars found lake with liquid water

Theoretically, amplification of the signal, wherein the lake is suspected, may provide a layer of frozen carbon dioxide, or a low temperature water ice, but the authors reject these assumptions, since these embodiments are not well in agreement with the observed data.

"The only possible explanation for what we see - it's liquid water," - said Orosei.

"With MARSIS we found out that there is liquid water, it is salty and is in contact with sediments. Ingredients for there could be life on the spot and more than MARSIS can not say anything, he can not answer the question of whether there is life "- said Enrico Flamini, representing the Italian Space Agency.

"Assumptions about the presence of liquid water beneath the polar caps of Mars have appeared many years ago. However, until now it was not possible to confirm or deny them, they do not manage to find on Mars and stable accumulation of liquid water, because the data collected were of very poor quality ", - adds Andrea Chikketti, co-author of the study.

With the help of radar examined only a few percent of the Southern Plateau, and its characteristics make it possible to see only large enough bodies of water.

"This is just one small area. Just imagine what a lot of underground lakes of water "may be under the surface of Mars.