Discovery of lake on Mars ups chances of finding Martian life

Tampa (US): A massive underground lake has been detected for the first time on Mars, raising the possibility that more water and maybe even life exists there, international astronomers said on Wednesday.

Located under a layer of Martian ice, the lake is about 20 km wide, said the report led by Italian researchers in the US journal Science. “This is a stunning result that suggests water on Mars is not a temporary trickle like previous discoveries but a persistent body of water that provides the conditions for life for extended periods of time,” said Alan Duffy, an associate professor at Swinburne University in Australia, who was not involved in the study.

Importance of discovery

  • It is the largest body of liquid water found on the Red Planet.
  • This particular lake, however, would not be drinkable, and lies almost 1.5 km beneath the icy surface, in a harsh and frigid environment.
  • Scientists are eager to find signs of contemporary water because such discoveries are key to unlocking the mystery of whether life ever formed on Mars in its ancient past, or if it might persist today.
  • Being able to access water sources could help humans survive on a crewed mission to Mars.
  • Mars was home to plenty of liquid water and lakes at least 3.6 billion years ago.