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Scientists find further evidence of liquid water on Mars

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Scientists have discovered latest evidence suggesting there might be liquid water on Mars.

The study, led by the University of Cambridge, provides the primary independent line of evidence using data apart from radar, that there’s liquid water beneath Mars’ south polar ice cap.

The research team, which included scientists from the University of Sheffield and the Open University, said this “doesn’t necessarily mean that life exists on Mars”.

Liquid water is an important ingredient for all times, even though it doesn’t necessarily mean that life exists on Mars

Dr Frances Butcher

Like Earth, Mars has thick water ice caps at each poles, roughly equivalent in combined volume to the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Earth’s ice sheets are underlain by water-filled channels and even large subglacial lakes, nonetheless, those on Mars were until recently considered frozen solid all of the strategy to their beds as a result of the cold Martian climate.

Dr Frances Butcher, second writer of the study from the University of Sheffield, said: “This study gives the very best indication yet that there’s liquid water on Mars today since it implies that two of the important thing pieces of evidence we’d search for when trying to find subglacial lakes on Earth have now been found on Mars.

“Liquid water is an important ingredient for all times, even though it doesn’t necessarily mean that life exists on Mars.

“With a view to be liquid at such cold temperatures, the water beneath the south pole might have to be really salty, which might make it difficult for any microbial life to inhabit it.

“Nonetheless, it does give hope that there have been more habitable environments prior to now when the climate was less unforgiving.”

The mix of the brand new topographic evidence, our computer model results and the radar data make it far more likely that at the least one area of subglacial liquid water exists on Mars today

Professor Neil Arnold

The international research team, which also included scientists from the University of Nantes and University College Dublin, used spacecraft laser-altimeter measurements of the form of the upper surface of the ice cap to discover subtle patterns in its height.

They then showed that these patterns match computer model predictions for the way a body of water beneath the ice cap would affect the surface.

Their results, reported within the journal Nature Astronomy, agree with earlier ice-penetrating radar measurements that were originally interpreted to indicate a possible area of liquid water beneath the ice.

Professor Neil Arnold, from Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute, who led the research, said: “The mix of the brand new topographic evidence, our computer model results and the radar data make it far more likely that at the least one area of subglacial liquid water exists on Mars today, and that Mars must still be geothermally lively with the intention to keep the water beneath the ice cap liquid.”

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