Scientists discovers underwater salt lake in Mars which may feature life
New Delhi : Lately, scientists have discovered sizable salt-laden lake under ice on the southern polar plain of Mars. They have used radar instrument on an orbiting spacecraft and predict that the spots of water could be possible habitat for microbial life.
Scientists detected a reservoir roughly 12 miles (20 km) in diameter, shaped like a rounded triangle and located about a mile (1.5 km) beneath the ice surface. It represents the first stable body of liquid water ever found on the Red Planet.
However, researchers say that it may take years to verify whether something is actually living in this body of water that resembles a subglacial lake on Earth, possibly with a future mission drilling through the ice to bring the water below.
"This is the place on Mars where you have something that most resembles a habitat, a place where life could subsist," said planetary scientist Roberto Orosei of Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica in Italy, who is also the author of the research published in the journal Science.
"This kind of environment is not exactly your ideal vacation, or a place where fish would swim," Orosei added. "But there are terrestrial organisms that can survive and thrive, in fact, in similar environments. There are microorganisms on Earth that are capable of surviving even in ice."
The discovery was made using data collected between May 2012 and December 2015 by an device aboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft that transmits radar pulses, which go through the Martian surface and ice caps.
"This took us long years of data analysis and struggles to find a good method to be sure that what we were observing was unambiguously liquid water," said study co-author Enrico Flamini, chief scientist at the Italian Space Agency during the research.
The area radar outlined resembles that of subglacial lakes found underneath Earth's Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.