More liquid water may be below the south pole of Mars than scientists thought Or maybe something happened there that they didn’t fully understand.
In 2018, researchers analyzing radar data collected by Europe’s Mars Express spacecraft announced that they would Found evidence of a large subsurface lake in the southern pole region of the red star Scientists report that The lake appears to be about 12 miles (19 kilometers) wide and about 1.6 km below the dry, frigid surface.
The same main research team soon followed up on their findings using the same thing. Mars Express The instrument ̵1; Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding, or MARSIS for short – to study subsurface over a wide area around a visible lake. The work found evidence of three more underground lakes, each about 10 km wide. reported in last year’s study..
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Now, another team has delved into the data, Aditya Khuller, a doctoral student at Arizona State University and MARSIS co-investigator Jeffrey Plaut of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California. analyzed 44,000 observations of MARSIS made by Mars’ Antarctic region over 15 years.
The pair encountered dozens of radar reflections similar to four that were interpreted as buried lakes at various horizontal and vertical distances. But many of the newly discovered signals were found relatively close to the surface. in places that seem too cold to support liquid water. Even the saltwater stuff that is presumed to exist in the Martian underground.
“We are not sure if these signals are liquid water or not. But it seems to be more prevalent than those found in the original paper.” said in a statement“Liquid water is common under Mars’ south pole, or are these signs indicative of something else?”
It’s unclear what will keep many relatively shallow lakes – if newly discovered signs actually indicate lakes – from the frigid Martian freezing. Volcanoes are among the possibilities researchers have raised, said Khuller, who conducted the new research while internships at JPL.
“however We have yet to see conclusive evidence for recent volcanic activity at the South Pole. So it seems unlikely that the volcano will allow groundwater to be present throughout the region,” Cooler said in the same statement.
Neither Khuller nor Plaut could explain what the newly discovered MARSIS reflection meant. But they hoped for their results, which were published online last week in the journal. Geophysical Research LettersWon’t be a mystery for long
“Our mapping gives us a better understanding of both the extent and cause of the puzzling radar reflections,” Plaut said.
Mike Wall is the author of “out there(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; Illustrations by Karl Tate) A book on the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.