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Ancient underground lakes discovered on Mars

This beautiful ESA image of the surface of Mars titled Cappuccino is swirling at the south pole of Mars.

ESA / DLR / FU Berlin / Bill Dunford

Make sure you bring some arm swimmers and some really big exercise with you when you go to Mars. A whole world of water-filled ponds can hide under the southern ice cap of the dry and dusty planet.

A new study carried out by researchers at Roma Tre University in Italy confirms the reasoning for a 201

8 Discovery of a hidden lake under the Martian polar iceand then added three new ponds to the find.

The researchers used radar data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter to originally capture liquid water.

“Taking into account more data and a different analysis, three new ponds were discovered,” ESA said in a statement on Monday. The team published their study on Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The lakes seem to lurk under a thick layer of ice. The largest lake is 30 kilometers in diameter and is surrounded by a number of smaller ponds.

The researchers expect the water to have to be incredibly salty to stay fluid at low temperatures. A separate one The 2019 study indicated volcanic activity could help keep the water from freezing, but the current paper leans heavily on the salt concept.

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

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

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

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