Scientists find first persistent water source on Mars


The lake was found with a radar instrument called Marsis on board the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter which arrived at March in 2003.

Arizona State University's Jim Bell, who works on NASA's Mars missions, says it's the strongest evidence for liquid water so far.

After decades of trying to answer the question of whether Mars has liquid water, scientists appear to have found the answer, and the implications of their discovery could be huge.

Australian experts have applauded the find, saying the discovery of liquid and frozen water resources is key due to their ability to produce fuel and provide life support for astronauts during deep space missions, allowing lower cost launches and space operations.

Scientists have long said Mars could potentially host life, and finding liquid water on the Red Planet is seen as one of the most important aspects of that search for extraterrestrial life.

"That water could be sourced from asteroids, the moon, or Mars".

The saltwater lake is about 1.5 km beneath Mars's surface and is at least one metre deep. The Martian water news cycle is pretty active, thanks to multiple discoveries of ice deposits on the surface and frozen vapor in the atmosphere.

We discovered water on Mars.

MARSIS surveyed Mars' Planum Australe region between May 2012 and December 2015 and utilized radar pulses, sending them through the surface and the polar ice caps, ultimately measuring how the radio waves came back.

The reservoir they detected-roughly 12 miles (20 km) in diameter, shaped like a rounded triangle and located about a mile (1.5 km) beneath the ice surface-represents the first stable body of liquid water ever found on Mars. It may not necessarily be warmer down there, but the pressure of the glacier above, plus the possibility of salt in the water, would lower the water's melting point.

But he pointed out that similar salty subglacial lakes in Antarctica had been found to support life.

The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

It begins a new line of inquiry that's very exciting.

Mars is now cold and dry, but 3.6 billion years ago was home to plenty of liquid water.

If you're now asking yourself, "Wait, didn't they already find water on Mars?" then you're not wrong.

There is no reason to conclude that the presence of subsurface water on Mars is limited to a single location.

Speaking in a recorded interview released by Science, Prof Orosei revealed that his team spent years checking their results before being confident enough to announce the discovery.

"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", added Watson, who was not involved in the research.