A large lake was discovered on Mars

A large lake was discovered on Mars

The fourth Earth-type planet in the solar system, from the central star Mars, is a dry, cold and barren sky. That is why, in 2018, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express probe detected large-scale signals indicating liquid water in the region of the red planet’s red pole. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JBL), after reviewing an expanded database, concluded that more liquid water could be hidden on the surface of Mars than previously thought. What is particularly surprising is that groundwater may also be present in areas of the Red Planet where temperatures are constantly below freezing.

The radar signal coming from the depth is stronger than that reflected from the surface

U.S. NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, Pasadena, CA), an organization of the space agency, has studied 44,000 measurements of data covering the entire South Pole of Mars. The south pole of the planet is covered by a “cap” of frozen carbon dioxide and a small portion of water ice, which varies in size depending on the Martian seasons.

The ice at Mars is mostly frozen carbon dioxide and a small amount of water ice.Source: NASA / JBL

It is noteworthy that the Martian polar caps are incomparably thinner than the thick ice cover that covers the Earth’s North Pole or especially Antarctica.

Compared to these, Mars pole hats are more of a frostbite than a snow shield.

The researchers examined data sets for radar measurements from 15 years ago. Radar waves can be used to reach below the surface of Mars because radio waves penetrate deeper layers.

Mars is one of the Earth-type rocky planets in the Solar SystemForce: Science Photo Library / Sebastian Kowlitzky / Science Photo Library / Sebastian Kowlitzky / Science Photography

Radar signals, of course, lose their power as they penetrate different layers of rock. From this, i.e. the amount of absorption, the physical properties of the deeper layers can be subtracted. The researchers found that

In some cases the radar signal reflected from depth is stronger than the signal reflected from the surface.

According to some scientists, this makes it clear that there may be a significant amount of water below the surface because the liquid water amplifier diverts radar signals.

Underground Mars lakes appear to be contrary to the laws of physics

The presence of groundwater was first discovered in the southern polar region of Mars’ South Pole deposits. The Recent comprehensive analysis of JPL It found dozens of similar areas at the South Pole. The revised measurement data cover the entire south polar region of Mars.

What is even more bizarre is that at some point, at a depth of just 1.5 km, relatively close to the surface, signs of the presence of large amounts of liquid water were identified.

Description of the polar cap covering the south pole of MarsSource: ESA / NASA / JPL / Caltech

However, here it is calculated – there is a temperature of 63 degrees Celsius, which is deep below the freezing point of water,

Due to the concentration of various minerals dissolved in water, freezing may be lower than groundwater. A study published in 2019 to explore this problem concluded that Mars “geothermal” heat coming from the depths must be at least twice as large to keep water in that liquid state at that depth.

Radar map of the South Pole region with hypothetical points for groundwaterSource: NASA / ESA / JBL / Caltech

Volcanoes can theoretically maintain the liquid state of water hidden at great depths,

But Mars, according to current knowledge, is already considered a dead volcano.

(In the distant past, the situation may have been even different, it was the tallest volcano in the solar system, 21283 meters high Olympus Mons, a large armored volcano with a classic structure.)

Olympus Mons Mars Armored Volcano, the tallest mountain in the Solar System, more than 20 km highSource: NASA / JBL / Caltech

Based on all this, there are those who are skeptical about the possibility of extensive liquid water being hidden under the South Pole. On the other hand, if the interpretation of radar signals is correct, many large surface lakes will be obscured at the South Pole.

Art description of the ESA Mars Express spacecraftSource: NASA / ESA / JBL / Caltech

It is still a mystery whether the water that is supposed to freeze ice according to the laws of physics is in a liquid state. But if it were not for water, what could cause a stronger radar pulse than the signal reflected from the surface, it might be hidden below.

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About the Author: Cary Douglas

Cary Douglas is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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