Scientists suggest that subglacial lakes at the south pole of Mars do not contain water, but some other substances


July 30, 2021, 17:34 GMT

A combined study of theoretical models, laboratory studies and observations suggests another explanation for the strange radar reflectors found beneath the region’s frozen surface.

The mystery of the element beneath the frigid surface of Mars’ south pole, which was initially considered a subglacial lake of liquid water, has been solved by scientists from the Planetary Science Institute in the US and York University in Canada.

According to their analysis, the strange bright radar reflectors discovered at the south pole of Mars are frozen mud, specifically the hydrated aluminum silicate minerals or smectite minerals. planetary science instituteHeadquartered in Tucson, Arizona.

These high reflectance regions were deep in the south pole of Mars Discover in 2018 By MARSIS’s subsurface and ionospheric sounding radar, installed aboard the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter. This discovery caused a stir by increasing the possibility of habitability on Mars.

Radar detects many saltwater lakes on the south pole of Mars

Planetary scientist Isaac Smith of the University of York and lead author said: “So far, all previous work can only suggest gaps in the lake’s argument. We are the first paper to show that other materials are the most likely reason for the observations.” From the article published in Geophysical Research Letters.

“Our study combined theoretical models, laboratory measurements and observations from the Compressed Exploratory Imaging Spectrograph of Mars (CRISM) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. All three showed that small objects can create reflections and that smectites are present at the south pole of Mars.” explained.

However, a A recent comment from NASA He specified that while these are “more plausible explanations than liquid water,” there is no way to confirm what these mysterious radar signals mean without going down to the surface of Mars and “hole kilometers of ice.”

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