Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Mars Breakthrough: Water Discovered Beneath Surface

Science
Pixabay

Scientists have found evidence that liquid water exists on Mars, raising questions about the possibility of life on our neighboring planet.


The discovery, announced Wednesday, was made using the MARSIS radar instrument onboard the European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft.

The researchers found a 12-mile-wide body of water buried under layers of ice and dust on the planet's southern pole region, the space agency said.

The scientists spent at least two years examining their data to make sure it was liquid water, not ice or another substance, according to the Associated Press.

"I really have no other explanation," Roberto Orosei, principal investigator of the MARSIS experiment, told the AP.

Orosei, who is also the lead author of the findings published in the journal Science today, suggested that there may be more hidden pools of water on Mars.

"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," he said in a press release.

Previous findings have showed evidence of Mars' watery past, due to a vast presence of dried out river channels. NASA confirmed in 2015 that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. But today's announcement reveals there is an existing body of liquid.

The finding has fueled speculation that there could be, or was, life on the red planet, as water is essential for life. But as Manish Patel from the Open University told BBC News, "We are not closer to actually detecting life."

The underground Martian water is likely extremely cold, salty and sediment-rich, making it challenging for life to survive.

However, Patel continued, "What this finding does is give us the location of where to look on Mars. It is like a treasure map—except in this case, there will be lots of 'X's marking the spots."

The researchers are eager to further explore the planet.

"The long duration of Mars Express, and the exhausting effort made by the radar team to overcome many analytical challenges, enabled this much-awaited result, demonstrating that the mission and its payload still have a great science potential," said Dmitri Titov, ESA's Mars Express project scientist, in the press release.

"This thrilling discovery is a highlight for planetary science and will contribute to our understanding of the evolution of Mars, the history of water on our neighbor planet and its habitability."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less