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Ancient underground lakes discovered on Mars

This beautiful ESA image of the Martian surface is titled Cappuccino swirls at Mars’ south.

ESA / DLR / FU Berlin / Bill Dunford

Make sure you pack some arm floats and a really big drill for when you fly to Mars. There could be a whole world of water-filled ponds hidden under the southern ice sheet of the dry and dusty planet.

A new study conducted by researchers from Roma Tre University in Italy reinforces the reasons for a 201

8 discovery of a lake hidden under the Martian polar ice, then extends the search to include three new ponds.

The researchers used radar data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter to make the original detection of liquid water.

“Now, by taking more data into consideration and analyzing it differently, three new ponds have been discovered,” ESA said in a statement Monday. The team published their study in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday.

The lakes appear to be lurking under a heavy layer of ice. The largest lake is about 30 kilometers wide with a series of smaller ponds surrounding it.

Researchers expect water to be incredibly salty to remain liquid at low temperatures. A separate The 2019 study suggested volcanic activity it could help keep water from freezing, but the current paper leans heavily on the concept of salt.

“While it is not possible today for water to remain stable on the surface, the new result opens up the possibility that an entire system of ancient lakes could exist underground, perhaps millions or even billions of years,” ESA said.

Humans are busy looking for signs of life – especially evidence of ancient microbes – on Mars. NASA’s new Perseverance rover will continue this research from the surface of the red planet. Liquid water reservoirs would be a particularly tempting place to search for life, but reaching these ponds would be extremely difficult. There is 1 mile (1.5km) of ice on the road.

We may not get great answers from the Martian South Pole anytime soon, but it may give us a future target for exploration once our technology is up to the challenge.

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