Life on Mars? Scientists discover underground 'lake' at south pole

The south polar ice cap of Mars

However, the same dissolved chemicals that might have kept this water pocket from freezing could also be harmful to life. The planet is now an icy desert.

MARSIS "then measures how the radio waves propagate and reflect back to the spacecraft", said the study.

The reservoir - which is approximately 20 kms in diameter and is shaped like a rounded triangle - is the first stable body of liquid water ever found on Mars.

So instead, they tried to come up with as many other explanations for what they were seeing as possible. It's also a place where extraterrestrial life could be flourishing.

"If there is microbial life operating there, it's operating under conditions that would be at the very limits of what we know life operates under here on Earth", said Brent Christner, a microbiologist at the University of Florida. This water is not exactly hospitable - "it's basically got antifreeze in it", says Andrew Coates, a professor of space physics at University College London who has worked on several space missions. They focused on a region below the surface of Mars' southern polar ice cap, an area suspected for the past 31 years to have an underground lake.

After decades of trying to answer the question of whether Mars has liquid water, scientists appear to have found the answer, and the implications of their discovery could be huge.

"Water is there", Enrico Flamini, the former chief scientist of the Italian Space Agency who oversaw the research, said during a news conference.

MEO  EPA-EFE  REX  Shutterstock Italian astrophysic Roberto Orosei during a press conference at the Italian Space Agency headquarters Rome Italy 25 July 2018. Scientists with National Institute of A
Alessandro Di Meo//EPA-EFE REX Shutterstock Scientis Roberto Orosei announcing the findings during a news conference on Wednesday

Fred Watson, from the Australian Astronomical Observatory in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, says Mars has many striking similarities with our own planet.

Researchers said the lake looked similar to the ones found beneath the Antartic and Greenland. "But that existed 3.8 billion years ago".

There is, and probably will continue to be, debate about the findings of this paper, simply because the implications of this discovery are vast. This makes the choice of target even more exciting. But, if so, it would have to contend with a world in which all moisture quickly vanishes in the thin, cold air, leaving the surface dry as a bone.

Coates' own next mission, the rover Exomars, will set off for the planet in 2020 and is scheduled to arrive in 2021.

The Red Planet was likely once rich in liquid water much like Earth, but has since become arid and desolate. Coates thinks the chance of finding it has just gone up.

A screengrab from animation of the Martian poles with ice caps.

The subsurface lake could be similar to Antarctica's Lake Vostok, or to the subsurface seas thought to exist on the Jovian moon Europa or the Saturnian moon Enceladus. It will require flying a robot there which is capable of drilling through 1.5km of ice. "People have talked about melting through Enceladus's ice, and maybe that would work, but it's not easy". The paper adds that this suggests "that there is a subglacial lake at this location on Mars". "We can show that there's enough energy to drive chemotrophic life-life that doesn't need sun, but lives on chemistry", he said. "This is certainly not a very pleasant environment for life ..."

Related News:

Most liked

New York Yankees Acquire Zach Britton
Tate has been called the "centerpiece" of this deal but I would say that Cody Carroll is the best player in the deal. He has worked 14 scoreless outings since returning, and there's no denying he makes the Yankees better.

Senate Republican warns Russia on election interference
I'm very concerned that Russian Federation will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Then on Tuesday, Trump issued a rare clarification and said he misspoke.

Insider says Apple’s most exciting new iPhone of 2018 may be delayed
As for the future, Apple might even consider designing its own networking chips, pretty much like their main and secondary chips. Davis didn't mention Intel by name, but Intel is the only other supplier of that component for Apple's smartphones.

President Trump's Hollywood star destroyed
Trump's star has taken beating after beating since the former reality show star started running for president. The Hollywood Historic Trust will fix the star but requires several days of seasoning before it is polished.

The moon will turn blood red in Canberra early on Saturday morning
Moreover, astronomy enthusiasts will also be able to see planet Mars along with the total lunar eclipse at the same time . In mainland France, the eclipse will be visible from 10 pm - 10.30 pm and it is expected to last until almost 12.30 am.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says more records 'impossible'
Both clubs possess the best attacks in England, and possibly Europe, making them the heavy favorites to contend for the PL. In the moment we have a young winger who can play full-back: Rafa Camacho.

Liquid water lake found on Mars
The next step is for space authorities to definitively confirm the body of water is there - and then the search for life begins. The weight of kilometres worth of ice above it could also be keeping the water in a liquid state, the researchers say.

Philippines' Duterte to pursue 'relentless and chilling' war on drugs
Responding to his critics, Duterte reaffirmed his commitment to a controversial drug war, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.

Trump And EU Agree To Work Toward Zero Tariffs
Trump and Juncker said they have agreed to work toward "zero tariffs" and "zero subsidies" on non-automotive goods. He has slapped taxes on imported steel and aluminum, saying they pose a threat to US national security.

Hundreds reported missing after Laos dam collapse
Its units include SK Hynix, the world's second-largest chipmaker, and SK Telecom, South Korea's largest telecom carrier. A dam that collapsed in southern Laos has flooded villages and forced thousands of people to flee, state media report .

New Zealand's men beat England to retain World Cup Sevens title
Women's final: New Zealand 27 (Michaela Blyde 3, Portia Woodman, Tyla Nathan-Wong tries; Nathan-Wong con) - France 0. The All Blacks took a 14-0 lead in San Francisco as Sione Molia scored two tries, both converted by Kurt Baker.

Right-wing Congressmen file articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
The last time the House actually voted to impeach an executive branch official other than a president was 1876 . House Speaker Paul Ryan has also said he is satisfied with progress on the document production.

Release of secret Trump recording raises legal questions
According to a transcript provided by the Trump legal team, Trump wanted to pay via check in order to properly document the payment.

Stormy Daniels's husband files for divorce - and it might get ugly
Daniels was arrested at an OH strip club this month for allegedly inappropriately touching patrons but the charges were dropped. Stormy Daniels' husband doesn't just want a divorce - he wants her to stay clear of him - and he's accusing her of cheating.

Trump Says China is Targeting U.S. Farmers, Being 'Vicious'
He defended his aggressive stance again on Tuesday, saying it was bringing other governments to the negotiating table. Add White House as an interest to stay up to date on the latest White House news, video, and analysis from ABC News.