Liquid water has been detected by radar below the polar ice cap of Mars. A study by Italian researchers from the Italian Space Agency claims that a lake of liquid water has been detected beneath the southern polar ice cap.
The study abstract claims:
“The presence of liquid water at the base of the martian polar caps has long been suspected but not observed. We surveyed the Planum Australe region using the MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) instrument, a low-frequency radar on the Mars Express spacecraft. Radar profiles collected between May 2012 and December 2015 contain evidence of liquid water trapped below the ice of the South Polar Layered Deposits. Anomalously bright subsurface reflections are evident within a well-defined, 20-kilometer-wide zone centered at 193°E, 81°S, which is surrounded by much less reflective areas. Quantitative analysis of the radar signals shows that this bright feature has high relative dielectric permittivity (>15), matching that of water-bearing materials. We interpret this feature as a stable body of liquid water on Mars”
The water body is expected to be 20 Km in width. Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) instrument on board the Mars Express spacecraft took data on a 200-kilometer-wide (124-mile) area near the planet’s south pole. It shot radio waves at the ground, then recorded how the waves that bounced back had changed. There was nothing strange about the area itself. But a 20-kilometer-wide (12-mile) region beneath the surface seemed to reflect way more of the radar signal than its surroundings.
The finding, if true, will provide a new dimension in our understanding of Mars, and provide a possible resource for habitation if people ever travel to the planet.