The Discovery Of A Lake On Mars Is A Big Deal

31 July, 2018, 02:33 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Stargazers can see Mars at its best this weekend. The sun Earth and Mars directly align in what scientists call “Mars opposition” beginning Friday with the red planet being the closest it’s been in 15 years on Tuesday

"We have all of these spacecraft on or around Mars, rovers on the ground looking up and probes in orbit looking down", Meinke said.

She says "If these researchers are right, this is the first time we've found evidence of a large water body on Mars".

Artists' impression: Mars Express probing the planet's surface. This is the point in which Earth is sandwiched directly in the middle of the sun and Mars. This very almost coincides with its [the earth's] closest approach to Mars as the two objects orbit the Sun. MARSIS measures the echoes of the radio waves, which researchers would then be able to use to decode the structure of the subsurface. The properties of the material that lies between influences the returned signal, which can be used to map the subsurface topography.

SKYGAZERS are in for a treat tomorrow when a rare "opposition" event will see Mars at its brightest in 15 years. Layers of the south polar layered deposits - layers of ice and dust - are seen to a depth of about 1.5 km.

Whatever the extent of polar basal melting now on Mars, it was nearly certainly greater in the past, Clifford said.

"This is just one small study area; it is an exciting prospect to think there could be more of these underground pockets of water elsewhere, yet to be discovered".

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NASA scientists were not part of this paper but when media interviewed Jim Green, Chief Scientist, NASA, he remarked-"The bright spot seen in the MARSIS data is an unusual feature and extremely intriguing".

"On Earth, nobody would be surprised by such a discovery".

"Water is there. We have no more doubt", co-author Enrico Flamini, the Italian space agency's Mars Express mission manager, told a press conference.

The tool is called the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS), and was created to find subsurface water by sending radar pulses that penetrate the surface and ice caps.

"The distance between the Earth and Mars is shorter than it normally would be", said Mackay. Actually, as early as 1987, the planetary scientist Stephen Clifford had predicted that the highest possibility of water existing on Mars was in the polar regions of the planet, where water hidden deep under ice caps might remain liquid because high pressure lowers its melting point.

Mars will be closest to earth this weekend while being at its brightest since 2003.

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