For the first time, a massive underground lake of liquid water has been detected on Mars, raising the possibility life in the red planet, according to international astronomers.
Where was the underground lake of liquid water on Mars found?
The underground lake of liquid detected by scientists using the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (Marsis) instrument on the Mars Express spacecraft, lies underneath Mars’s southern pole and stretches 20km across, according to scientists detected the lake.
MARSIS was designed to find subsurface water by sending radar pulses that penetrate the surface and ice caps.
What is the significance of this underground lake of liquid water on Mars?
The underground lake of liquid is the largest body of liquid water ever found on the Red Planet. The discovery is the latest piece of evidence of a stable body of water detected on Mars.
“If these researchers are right, this is the first time we’ve found evidence of a large water body on Mars,” said Cassie Stuurman, a geophysicist at the University of Texas who found signs of an enormous Martian ice deposit in 2016.
“This is a discovery of extraordinary significance and is bound to heighten speculation about the presence of living organisms on the Red Planet,” said Fred Watson, of the Australian Astronomical Observatory.
Being able to access water sources could also help humans survive on a future crewed mission to Earth’s neighbouring planet.
Would the water of the underground lake of liquid water on Mars be drinkable?
Most definitely ‘no’. The lake lies almost 1.5 km beneath the icy surface in a harsh and frigid environment.
Some experts are skeptical of the possibility since the lake is so cold and briny, and mixed with a heavy dose of dissolved Martian salts and minerals.
“Caution needs to be exercised, however, as the concentration of salts needed to keep the water liquid could be fatal for any microbial life similar to Earth’s,” Watson said.
(With inputs from agencies)