Mars’ Underground “Lakes” May Not Be What We’re Hoping For

Mars’ Underground “Lakes” May Not Be What We’re Hoping For
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Many people are hoping for encounters with extraterrestrial civilizations willing to reveal the secrets of the Universe for us. These folks were super excited when underground “lakes” were discovered on Mars. Life cannot possibly exist without the presence of liquid water.

But a new article from Gizmodo comes to shatter their dreams. New research reveals that astronomers might not be dealing with lakes of water after all.

The “lakes” might only be made of big globs of clay

New research claims that the structures beneath the surface of Mars aren’t lakes at all. If it’s true, the south pole of the Red Planet contains smectites, meaning a class of clays that were misinterpreted in the data.

Researchers believe that the conditions on the Martian south pole aren’t right for liquid water to form.

Isaac Smith, who is a planetary scientist from York University and also the lead author of the new paper, wrote in an email, as quoted by Gizmodo:

I really don’t believe that the lake idea holds water, so an alternative was needed … smectites are abundant on Mars and heavily studied by spectroscopists, but they’ve been mostly neglected by the radar community. My hope is that we consider them more fully in the future and even revisit some of our previous work in light of these new results.

The new data was gathered from the MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding), which is mounted on the Mars Express spacecraft that belongs to the European Space Agency.

While we hate to disappoint you, plenty of time will pass until humanity eventually finds any alien life forms on Mars. But for the moment, there’s no evidence of extraterrestrial beings living on the Red Planet.

A paper was published in the Geophysical Research Letters explaining the new theory.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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