Welcome to Mars—now with a liquid lake!

By Melissa Locker

July 25, 2018

Back in 2015, NASA confirmed that the dusty planet of Mars most likely had liquid water intermittently flowing over its dusty surface. Now, scientists have found evidence of a lake of liquid water under the planet’s south polar ice cap.

The discovery was made by using the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter. As reported in Science, the researchers, led by Roberto Orosei from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics, examined radar profiles collected between May 2012 and December 2015 and discovered the evidence of liquid water trapped below the ice.

The lake is about 12 miles across and may not be potable, as the researchers predict it must be extremely salty to stay liquid in the -10 and -30 Celsius temperatures. Still, water is water—and it could be a sign of potential life on the Red Planet, or at least a sign of potential support for a colony.

Since everything is a competition, perhaps this exciting discovery will inspire Donald Trump to improve NASA’s budget to make sure the United States wins the race to Mars.