Scientists have found multiple “water bodies” on Mars, a new major study finds. This isn’t the first time large bodies of water have been found on the red planet, and it’s providing more evidence for the possibility of extraterrestrial life in our solar system.
Scientists used a tool called MARSIS, or the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding, to image the planet’s subsurface using radar pulses. MARSIS is able to penetrate the thick ice caps and surface of Mars without even touching the planet’s surface.
Elena Pettinelli led a group of researchers from Roma Tre University in studying lakes under Arctic glaciers using the same technology.
In a statement, Pettinelli said, “Not only did we confirm the position, extent, and strength of the reflector from our 2018 study but we found three new bright areas.”
“The main lake is surrounded by smaller bodies of liquid water, but because of the technical characteristics of the radar, and of its distance from the Martian surface, we cannot conclusively determine whether they are interconnected,” she continued.
As they continue their studies, the team of researchers plans to focus on two key areas: examining the planet and its chemistry better and investigating whether or not there is alien life on the planet — or what they call “astrobiological activity.”
Principal investigator on the MARSIS project, Roberto Orosei, said, “While the existence of a single subglacial lake could be attributed to exceptional conditions such as the presence of a volcano under the ice sheet, the discovery of an entire system of lakes implies that their formation process is relatively simple and common, and that these lakes have probably existed for much of Mars’ history.”
He concluded saying, “For this reason, they could still retain traces of any life forms that could have evolved when Mars had a dense atmosphere, a milder climate and the presence of liquid water on the surface, similar to the early Earth.”