The "underground lake" on the pole of Mars could be just dust and gas

The "underground lake" on the pole of Mars could be just dust and gas

Researchers at Cornell University have re-analyzed data collected by the Mars Express orbiter, which was originally considered to be evidence of liquid water on the Red Planet, could be simply geological formations.

In many places on Mars there is water, including on most of the two polar caps, all of which remain frozen, but in 2020 researchers reported that Mars Express satellite radars found bright reflections under the surface of the Martian laminates of the South Pole, which were 1.4 km thick with relatively clean water ice, and some scientists interpreted observations as evidence of liquid water.

In an article published in Nature Astronomy on September 26, researchers at Cornell University report that although the presence of a liquid underground lake seems to be an exciting idea, the anomaly can be explained differently.

Using computer simulations, scientists have shown that such strong reflections can be created by interference between conventional geological layers that do not contain liquid water or other rare materials.

Researchers modelled the polar region of Mars, consisting of three layers: two layers of solid carbon dioxide separated by a layer of dusty ice; these materials were previously found in polar regions of the Red Planet; the study produced the same results that Mars Express observed.

Scientists note that the thickness of layers and the distance between them have a greater impact on the signal ' s reflection than on their composition, which means that more caution is needed in interpreting the results of satellite observations.