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What they believe to be a lake sits beneath the Red Planet's south polar ice cap, and is about 20km across. Previous research found possible signs of intermittent liquid water flowing on the martian surface, but this is the first sign of a persistent body of water on the planet in the present day. Lake beds like those explored by Nasa's Curiosity rover show water was present on the surface of Mars in the past. However, the planet's climate has since cooled due to its thin atmosphere, leaving most of its water locked up in ice. The discovery was made using Marsis, a radar instrument on board the Mars Express orbiter.
originally posted by: wildespace
a reply to: sapien82
Thanks for a source link; the other thread doesn't have even that.
Just to correct you that the news is not from NASA but from ESA - European Space Agency.
Interesting that this news is popping up on MSN, but I can't find any original source, such as at the Mars Express Orbiter site.
This is extremely exciting and important news!
The presence of liquid water at the base of the martian polar caps has long been suspected but not observed. We surveyed the Planum Australe region using the MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) instrument, a low-frequency radar on the Mars Express spacecraft. Radar profiles collected between May 2012 and December 2015 contain evidence of liquid water trapped below the ice of the South Polar Layered Deposits. Anomalously bright subsurface reflections are evident within a well-defined, 20-kilometer-wide zone centered at 193°E, 81°S, which is surrounded by much less reflective areas. Quantitative analysis of the radar signals shows that this bright feature has high relative dielectric permittivity (>15), matching that of water-bearing materials. We interpret this feature as a stable body of liquid water on Mars.
originally posted by: vinifalou
I'd love to know if they "just found out" this or if they have this information for a long time and are releasing it slowly now.
The presence of liquid water at the base of the polar ice caps has long been suspected; after all, from studies on Earth, it is well known that the melting point of water decreases under the pressure of an overlying glacier. Moreover, the presence of salts on Mars could further reduce the melting point of water and keep the water liquid even at below-freezing temperatures.
But until now evidence from the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding instrument, MARSIS, the first radar sounder ever to orbit another planet, remained inconclusive.
It has taken the persistence of scientists working with this subsurface-probing instrument to develop new techniques in order to collect as much high-resolution data as possible to confirm their exciting conclusion.
The deep Earth holds about the same amount of water as our oceans.
originally posted by: pavil
Mars DOES have an atmosphere currently and HAD a much denser one in the past.
Does Yin think there are Mars-quakes? "I think so," he said. "I think the fault is probably still active, but not every day. It wakes up every once in a while, over a very long duration — perhaps every million years or more."