Posted on August 2, 2018
The finding came after a year-long search, led by a group of Italian scientists. The salt water mass is hidden in the south pole of the red planet.
After years of the expedition in search of water, the European Mars Express probe seems to have paid off. A team of scientists of Italian origin discovered a large lake of liquid water under the ice of Mars, more precisely in the south pole of the fourth planet in order of distance to the Sun.
The radar of the ship determined that it is a mass of 20 kilometres long, located 1.5 kilometres under the ice.
It is a historical fact since they had never before encountered a large mass of liquid water on the red planet, something that translates into a very possible existence of life.
"It is very difficult to know how deep the lake is because the water absorbs the radar signals, so we only see its surface, but at least we speak of a depth of one meter," explains Roberto Orosei, from the National Institute of Astrophysics. of Italy and first signatory of the study, which is published today in Science. "We are facing a reserve of water produced by the melting of ice that is concentrated in a depression of the land," says the astronomer, who estimates that it contains "at least hundreds of millions of cubic meters of liquid water." For now, radar signals do not allow to determine if it is pure liquid water or porous rocks infiltrated with water.
"The only way to answer this question is to go there and drill the ice to the deposit," says Orosei, a huge technological challenge that he believes possible with current technology. "The most difficult thing, in this case, would not be to drill the ice, but to ensure that the subglacial lake is not contaminated with terrestrial microbes, something that has already prevented similar lakes from being explored in Antarctica," he says. The intensity of the signals is very similar to that obtained by similar radar instruments in subglacial lakes of Antarctica and Greenland.