Two years ago, a team of scientists found evidence of a salty water lake deep under the surface of Mars’ south pole.
Stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images
Now, those same scientists have announced evidence for enough water to fill several lakes under Mars’ south pole.
The researchers reviewed radar data spanning 10 years — between 2010 and 2019 — looking for evidence of water.
They specifically looked for signs of bright, reflective surfaces in the layers of Mars’ south pole.
The data revealed several pools of water underneath the ice, some stretching as wide as 12 miles, some as little as 3 miles.
But Mars’ average temperature reaches -80 degrees Fahrenheit. How can there be liquid water?
The pools’ salt content is what’s likely keeping them liquid, the researchers explain. Salt lowers the freezing temperature of water and can keep it liquid — like how spreading salt on a sidewalk in winter melts ice.
Unfortunately, these lakes are still unreachable for us Earthlings.
NASA and other space agencies have missions planned for Mars, but none would be able to penetrate more than a mile deep into the ice.
But since scientists have discovered life in subglacial lakes on Earth, knowing the water is there on Mars gives us more tantalizing evidence that Mars was once — and could still be — habitable.