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Scientists think Mars lake may be created by recent volcanic activity



 Mars south pole

Mars shows off its south pole


ESA
                                                

The Red Planet is sometimes considered a dead planet, but new research suggests that it may hide a roiling, a volcanic beat within its crust.

In July 2018, an international team of scientists discovered that Mars was harboring liquid water underneath its southern ice cap . Using data obtained from the Mars Express orbiter of the European Space Agency, they suggested that there was a salt water lake lurking beneath the cap about 12 miles (about 20 kilometers wide). Because of similar phenomena seen under Earth's ice caps, lead researcher Roberto Orosei said at the time "we had to conclude that there is water on Mars today."

Orosei's team suggested that the salt, which lowered the melting point of ice, could be present at such concentration that they allowed the lake to form.

This new study builds on that research but posits the liquid water underneath the ice

Using a number of physical models, the team tried to understand the level of heat that would need to be generated in order to form the proposed underground lake. Their paper, published in the Geophysical Research Letters on Tuesday, showed that a plausible solution would be if a magma chamber was present at a depth of no more than 10 kilometers below

. conditions for liquid water to form. Thus, the paper concludes that "recent magmatism may offer a plausible explanation," but without such activity, suggest that there may be no liquid water at the ice cap at all

The team suggests that NASA's InSight lander, is positioned on Mars' surface and equipped with a heat probe will provide a clearer picture of how hot the Martian crust might get. Mars's interior is not as hot as Earth's, but we're not sure exactly how warm it is.

Of course, if there is liquid water then does that mean there may also be life? An underground lake provides a potential Garden of Eden, a safe paradise where life can still, uh, find a way

"We think that if there is any life, it probably has to be protected in the underground from radiation, "said Ali Bramson, an author on the new paper.

On Feb. 13, NASA bid farewell to its resilient Martian rover, Opportunity which had been studying the planet from the ground for 15 years. In that time, Opportunity found evidence that Mars was once wet rather than dusty and dry

And, sadly, Opportunity is dead, Mars may well be more alive than we thought. ]
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