Researchers discovered the traces of three different sets of the ancient location of the lakes on Mars, in a region dubbed Hellas Planitia. Some of them are around 50 miles (77 kilometers) large. This discovery strengthens the theory that planet Mars was once a planet with water surface just like on Earth, even though now is a cold and dry environment. Some of these water bodies have similar features of the ones on Earth.
The three bodies’ sets of lakes from Mars are believed to be formed in different ways. The scientist wrote about this research that one lake was formed by precipitation, one by the movement of water through the Martian soil and the third one was an accumulation of rivers from across the surface.
“These hundreds-of-meters-wide channels cut across widespread ash-laden volcanic lava and impact-debris terrains across the interior slope of Hellas basin,” co-author Virginia Gulick, a geoscientist at the SETI Institute, reported in a statement published by the institution.
The new research can be found in a paper in the journal Astrobiology published on October 30th.
The search for water on Mars was first proposed by Steve Clifford, planetary scientist specializing in water on Mars at the Planetary Science Institute based in Arizona. He observed and studied the lakes under the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets here on Earth and believed that the same scenario could be happening on Mars, under the ice caps.
Researchers used by an instrument called MARSIS in order to collect data from the planet’s ionosphere and interior structure. The MARSIS has been orbiting the planet aboard Mars Express since back in 2003. The radar signals that MARSIS emits; bounce back to Mars Express depending on what material they encounter.
“We discovered water on Mars,” lead author Roberto Orosei, the co-investigator on MARSIS and a scientist at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy announced.