Heated debates surfaced in the scientific community in 2018, when a team of researchers argued that a subglacial lake could be present beneath the south pole region of Mars.
The same team of researchers has uncovered new information that could prove the existence of vast subglacial lakes beneath the Martian surface. If such lakes are real, the discovery could force scientists to explore new theories related to the potential existence of life on the Red Planet, since such environments would be more hospitable.
Salt and ancient seas
Previous research suggests that Mars used to be covered by a vast number of liquid seas more than four billion years ago. The liquid water present on the surface has disappeared, but some traces of water remain in the form of ice present near the poles of the planet.
Extremely low temperatures and low atmospheric pressure prevent the formation of liquid water on the surface for now. However, the presence of salt could allow water found below the Martian surface to remain in a liquid state since the mineral is able to lower the freezing temperature of the water.
New data collected from observations infers that there are might be more bodies of water than previously thought. The largest underwater lake measures 12 by 18 miles at it appears to be surrounded by three small ponds, according to information shared by the European Space Agency.
While salty environments aren’t favored by most microbes there are some extremophiles that have been identified in salty lakes on Earth. The accuracy of the information is also reinforced by the fact that the researchers have surveyed 134 observations, which were made with the help of MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding). However, more research is needed, and three upcoming missions focused on Mars could provide additional data.
A paper was published in a scientific journal.