WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- New research points to liquid underground lakes existing under the polar ice cap of Mars.
- Liquid water existing on the red planet could provide a place for bacterial life to develop.
- Two other scientists doubt the data, however, saying that the lakes may not be as cold or salty or that liquid water can’t exist because Mars is too cold.
Just weeks after astronomers pointed to a potential sign of life on Venus, new research says that liquid water may exist on Mars. If these salty lakes do exist under its polar ice cap, life has a chance to develop. The research was published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday.
These possible liquid bodies of water would probably be similar to subglacial lakes that exist here on Earth. In those lakes under the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, bacterial life has managed to exist despite the cold.
A professor of geophysics at Italy’s Roma Tre University and lead researcher Elena Pettinelli said that they are much more confident with their research, having done many more observations, and the data was processed completely differently as well.
Pettinelli is a planetary scientist. She and her team reviewed 134 ground-penetrating radar observations recorded by the Mars Express Orbiter between 2012 and 2019.
To review their findings, a technique already applied for the 2018 study, as well as a newer technique used to locate Antarctic subglacial lakes, was applied.
Results from both methods point to a “patchwork” of underground liquid lakes on the red planet. These reservoirs are located around a mile below the surface.
Two other scientists not involved in the study are doubtful about the results, however.
One suggests that though underground bodies of water seem possible, they might not be as cold or salty as researchers may think. The other said Mars is too cold for liquid form water to exist, no matter how salty.
Source: New York Post