“Lakes” under the south pole of Mars: a muddy picture?

The intense white of part of this symbol displays the ice cap that covers the south pole of Mars, made up of frozen water and frozen carbon dioxide. Credit score: ESA / DLR / FU Berlin / Dunford invoice

Not too long ago, two analysis groups, using information from Ecu House Company’s Mars Specific orbiter, revealed effects suggesting what were thought to be underground lakes on Mars will by no means be lakes.

In 2018, scientists operating with information from the Mars Specific orbiter made a shocking discovery: indicators from radar software: the mirror at the south pole of the pink planet appeared to reveal a liquid underground lake. Since then, other problems of this type have been introduced.

In a brand new document revealed within the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical survey lettersSenior writer and graduate student Aditya Khuller of Arizona State College’s School of Earth and Home Exploration with Jeffrey Plaut of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), describes the discovery of dozens of radar returns identical to across the South Pole after looking at a wider range of specific Mars -Data. However, there are many in spaces where the water must be too cold to remain liquid.

Whether the alerts are liquid water or not can be viewed as the business of a team of scientists led by ASU’s Faculty of Earth and House Exploration, postdoctoral researcher Carver Bierson. Their analysis was also revealed not so long ago in the AGU Geophysical survey letters and decided that these vibrant reflections could well be caused by subterranean clay, steel minerals or salt ice.

Mars Specific is the second longest-surviving constant-energy spacecraft orbiting a planet instead of Earth, behind NASA’s best Mars Odyssey 2001. As Mars Specific orbiting Mars, it continues to offer essential information regarding the subsoil, soil and environment of the pink planet.

On board this spacecraft is software known as Mars Complex Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding, or MARSIS for short. This software uses a radar probe to assess the composition of the Martian subsoil.

MARSIS has been collecting information around Mars, as well as the South Pole, since 2004, allowing scientists to construct a three-dimensional symbol of Antarctica. “We had to appear under the Antarctic ice and point to the traditional terrain that is below the use of MARSIS information,” Khuller said.

In new research into the use of MARSIS information, researchers have discovered spaces where reflections below the exterior are brighter than those on the exterior, which is not what scientists would expect.

“Typically, radar waves lose power as they come and go through a material, so deeper reflections need to be much less vivid than those coming from outside,” says Khuller, who may be an intern. at JPL under the direction of Plaut. “While there are a few conceivable causes for surprisingly vibrant underground reflections, these two researches concluded that an element of liquid water was once the reason for these vibrant reflections, as liquid water appears transparent on radar. . ”

The colored dots are places where vibrant radar reflections were noticed by ESA’s Mars-specific orbiter over the south polar cap of Mars. Credit Score: ESA / NASA / JPL-Caltech

Frozen Time Tablet

Initially interpreted as liquid water, radar alerts were present in a space on Mars called the South Pole layered deposits, named after the alternating layers of water ice, dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) and of dirt settled there for hundreds of thousands of years. These layers are believed to contain a report of how the tilt of the axis of Mars has changed over the years, simply because adjustments to the tilt of the Earth have resulted in ice ages and more classes. hot in the historical past of our planet. When Mars had a decrease in axial tilt, a snowstorm and layers of earth accumulated in the house, ultimately forming the thick ice sheet discovered in these days.

The areas originally supposed to include liquid water stretch for about ten to twenty kilometers in a rather small house of layered deposits within the south pole of Mars. Khuller and Plaut extended the search for similarly robust radio alerts to 44,000 measurements spanning 15 years of MARSIS information across the southern polar region of Mars.

Sudden “lakes”: a muddy picture?

Khuller and Plaut’s expanded new study released dozens of additional dynamic radar returns on wider house and intensity than ever before. In some places they were less than a mile outside, the temperature of the place is estimated to be minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 63 degrees Celsius) – so cold that the water would freeze even if it contained minerals salty products identified as perchlorates, which is able to decrease the level of freezing water.

“We are no longer sure whether these alerts are liquid water or not, but they appear to be much more common than what the article revealed,” said co-author Plaut, who is the co-lead investigator of the MARSIS orbiter software. . . “Liquid water is flowing under the south pole of Mars, or these alerts relate to something else. ”

Additionally, Khuller published a 2019 article in which the researchers calculated that the heat must soften the underground ice in this area, and found that the best fresh volcanism beneath the exterior could explain the imaginable presence of liquid water. under the South Pole. .

“They discovered that it might take twice the estimated geothermal heat with the flow of Mars to keep this water liquid,” Khuller said. “One imaginable option to get this amount of heat is volcanism. Then again, we actually didn’t notice any solid evidence of recent volcanism at the South Pole, so it appears that the volcanic process would provide groundwater liquid water throughout this era. time. area.”

Khuller and Plaut’s next steps on this line of analysis are to uncover their discovery of a second, deeper layer beneath parts of the South Pole of Mars, which scientists say represents an older burial website known as the training name Dorsa Argentea. Its concept was altered by historic glaciers once they arrived in the area, and so they plan to check to determine its composition and age more as it should.


Learn more and better consult Mars groundwater alerts


Further information:

Aditya R. Khuller et al., Basal interface characteristics of layered deposits within the south pole of Mars, Geophysical survey letters (2021). DOI: 10.1029 / 2021GL093631
CJ Bierson et al, The robust radar reflections of MARSIS from the bottom of the southern polar cap of Mars are also due to conductive ice or minerals, Geophysical survey letters (2021). DOI: 10.1029 / 2021GL093880

Michael M. Sori et al, Water on Mars, With a Grain of Salt: Native Warmth Anomalies are necessary for the basal melting of ice at the South Pole today, Geophysical survey letters (2019). DOI: 10.1029 / 2018GL080985

Quote: ‘Lakes’ under the south pole of Mars: a muddy picture? (2021, July 3, retrieved July 3, 2021 from https://phys.org/information/2021-07-lakes-mars-south-pole-muddy.html

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