ESA: Mars Express Detects Liquid Water Under South Pole

Find out the latest thinking about our universe.
User avatar
bystander
Apathetic Retiree
Posts: 19079
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 2:06 pm
Location: Oklahoma

ESA: Mars Express Detects Liquid Water Under South Pole

Post by bystander » Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:30 pm

Mars Express Detects Liquid Water Hidden Under Planet's South Pole
ESA | Space Science | Science & Technology | Mars Express | 2018 Jul 25

Radar data collected by ESA's Mars Express point to a pond of liquid water buried under layers of ice and dust in the south polar region of Mars.

Evidence for the Red Planet's watery past is prevalent across its surface in the form of vast dried-out river valley networks and gigantic outflow channels clearly imaged by orbiting spacecraft. Orbiters, together with landers and rovers exploring the martian surface, also discovered minerals that can only form in the presence of liquid water.

But the climate has changed significantly over the course of the planet's 4.6 billion year history and liquid water cannot exist on the surface today, so scientists are looking underground. Early results from the 15-year old Mars Express spacecraft already found that water-ice exists at the planet's poles and is also buried in layers interspersed with dust.

The presence of liquid water at the base of the polar ice caps has long been suspected; after all, from studies on Earth, it is well known that the melting point of water decreases under the pressure of an overlying glacier. Moreover, the presence of salts on Mars could further reduce the melting point of water and keep the water liquid even at below-freezing temperatures.

But until now evidence from the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding instrument, MARSIS, the first radar sounder ever to orbit another planet, remained inconclusive. ...

Evidence of Subsurface Martian Liquid Water Bolstered
Planetary Science Institute | 2018 May 27

Radar Evidence of Subglacial Liquid Water on Mars - R. Orosei et al
Last edited by bystander on Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added PSI article link
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor