Mars may have salty ponds close to its underground lake, raising the chance of Martian life
Two years back, researchers distinguished what looked like a salty lake under the surface of Mars’ southern ice top.
Presently, new exploration has discovered more proof of the lake, and furthermore uncovered various smaller salty “ponds” close by – raising the chance there might be life on the Red Planet.
In the new investigation, Italian researchers utilized the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) instrument on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express rocket. The radar secured a bigger region of the Martian surface and assembled extra information, permitting the researchers to “confirm the liquid nature of the previously observed lake,” the research group said in an announcement.
The researchers had the option to assemble more explicit insights regarding the lake – for example, they estimate it’s around 30 by 20 kilometers (18.6 by 12.4 miles) in area.
“The presence of a subglacial lake could have important consequences for astrobiology and the presence of habitable niches on Mars,” the statement added.
The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, likewise said the discovery of “several other smaller patches of water” was especially exciting.
The ponds – which the study depicts as “patchy water pools or wet areas of smaller extent” – are various sizes, and isolated from the fundamental lake by strips of dry land.
The revelation is huge on the grounds that it gives us a superior thought of the Mars climate, and chemical makeup. For example, the reality the lake and its surrounding ponds are as yet fluid recommend they are “hypersaline,” the study said – which means they contain lots of salts. This brings down the melting point, keeping the water from freezing notwithstanding the cool environment, and may have permitted them to “survive for an extended period of time on a geological scale.”
Furthermore, obviously, there’s the question of extraterrestrial life.
A study a year ago proposed that 3 to 4 billion years prior, Mars – presently cold and inhospitable – may have been warm enough to have pouring rainstorms and streaming water, which would have made an environment that could uphold basic life. As temperatures dropped later on, the water would freeze.
The most recent research posits that life on Mars may not simply be a thing of the past.
“The possibility of extended hypersaline water bodies on Mars is particularly exciting because of the potential for the existence of microbial life,” the study said.
On the off chance that there truly is life in these salty waters, it could take various forms. The researchers conjectured there could be anaerobes – tiny organisms that needn’t bother with oxygen – or extremophiles, which can get by in extraordinary cold or heat.
There could even be aerobes – organisms that require oxygen. Salty brines like the lakes or ponds hold six times the negligible amount of oxygen required for microbes to breathe, the study said.
“The water bodies at the base of the (south polar layered deposits) therefore represent areas of potential astrobiological interest and planetary protection concern,” the study concluded, urging future Mars missions to target the polar lake region to gather additional data.