October 6, 2020 1:55:48 pm
The most intriguing notion of humankind of being alone in the universe might just got busted as scientists once again discovered substantial signs of water present in the Mars, where a rigorous research is going on to find life-supporting evidences.
As per a research paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, recently, scientists have found three more underground water lakes in the south pole of the Red planet. Besides the main lake, smaller surrounding lakes have also been discovered. This after the discovery of the same such lake came into being in the year 2018 which was spread across a wide-area of 20 sq.km and was 1.5 km under the Martian surface.
In addition, scientists have also confirmed the presence of the fourth lake and, in the hindsight, have drawn monumental significance, because of the presence of water may lead their way to find out biological processes in the future which may prove the existence of any form of living organism on the planet.
At present, the water that has been found in the lakes is expected to be extremely salty, as a result of which it poses hazardous uncertainty for any potential life form. According to information cited on BBC, Italian researchers have claimed that these newly found lakes do resemble the scope of the presence of habitat in the past. They have further inferred that; earlier Mars might had relatively life-supporting warmer climate but then it did go through a climatic catastrophe before transforming into a frozen waste. With much skepticism, they concluded that amidst the climatic transformation, there might have been some form of life that could have existed on the Martian surface.
Due to extreme atmospheric conditions and the prevalence of low-pressure on the surface of Mars, the existence of liquid water is highly impossible. Further, scientists also emphasize the fact that lake-water having a salinity level five times that of the sea-water can only support life while that having twenty times the salinity of sea-water will not be able to support any life form.
While the exact salinity of the water under the lake is yet to be deciphered, researchers have cited that there might be microbes and microorganisms thriving in highly saline as well as highly cold environment inside those lakes. Another conclusive study shows that lack of substantial heat on the surface and the presence of a high amount of salts in the water can lower the freezing point of water up to -123 degree Celsius.
According to the researchers, the presence of a volcano beneath the polar ice-caps in Mars, might be melting them and could be accelerating the formation of such extremely saline lakes. The research has conclusively taken place through the detection of a single sub-surface by using 134 images captured between the year 2012-2019.
The team of scientists utilized the European space agency’s ‘Mars Express Spacecraft’ which has a radar instrument called MARSIS – Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding to carry out their probe on the southern polar region of the planet. Eventually, MARSIS sends out signal to the surface of the planet and gets reflected back which is then intercepted indicating the composition of surface at the origin such as ice, rock and water, as in the journal ‘Nature’.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.