Mars Express Finds Salty Lakes Under Mars Surface

Mars Express discovered the new ponds of water on the red planet.
Fabienne Lang

Buried beneath Mars' south pole surface lie at least four underwater lakes, and they're most likely very salty. 

A new study published on Monday in Nature Astronomy outlined the details.

The work carries on from a 2018 study focusing on the water on Mars, and this new article confirms the findings from two years ago: that water exists on Mars. The finding is significant as it could prove life on Mars to be possible for alien species, as water is needed for life as we know it. 


More water than previously known

Not only has the 2018 study that stated there was a large body of water under Mars' surface been proved right, but three new bodies of water have also been discovered on the red planet. 

That said, the researchers in the new study, led by Elena Pettinelli from Roma Tre University, have pointed out that further research needs to be carried out to better examine Mars and its chemistry makeup. This will also assist in finding out whether or not alien life exists on the planet. 

The recent discovery was found thanks to MARSIS, or the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding, which is on ESA's Mars Express that's orbiting the planet. Using its radar pulses, MARSIS is able to get through Mars' frosty and frozen surface to see what lies below.

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So without even stepping foot, or placing a machine, onto Mars, the team was able to discover the lake, 0.9 miles (1.5 km) below the surface thanks to the data collected by MARSIS.

Aside from finding the bodies of water, the data also points out that these bodies of water are highly likely to be salty, as they have not frozen over time — unlike their surface-level counterparts.

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