Mars has a vast liquid water lake beneath its southern pole, scientists believe

In a massive shot in the arm for the search for life on Mars, a giant “lake” of liquid water seems to be buried beneath the ice near the red planet’s south pole. Key points:

The search for liquid water on Mars has, so far, been unsuccessful What appears to be a 20-kilometre-wide subsurface “lake” near Mars’s south pole has been detected by the MARSIS ground-penetrating radar instrument on the Mars Express spacecraft If the lake is part of a wider network, life in microbial form could theoretically survive there todayUsing ground-penetrating radar on an orbiting spacecraft, an Italian team picked up signs of a 20-kilometre-wide body of liquid water, hidden 1.5 kilometres under the ice cap.They published their observations in Science today.

Whether that body of water is a relic of past oceans or part of a bigger network of subterranean lakes is still a mystery, said Roberto Orosei, a planetary scientist at the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics and lead author of the paper. “We need to determine if this discovery is unique or if it’s something that exists elsewhere on Mars,” he said.

Source: Mars has a vast liquid water lake beneath its southern pole, scientists believe – Science News – ABC News