Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2018 July 31
Explanation: What lies beneath the layered south pole of Mars? A recent measurement with ground-penetrating radar from ESA's Mars Express satellite has detected a bright reflection layer consistent with an underground lake of salty water. The reflection comes from about 1.5 kilometers down and covers an area 20 kilometers across. Liquid water evaporates quickly from the surface of Mars, but a briny confined lake, such as implied by the radar reflection, could last much longer and be a candidate to host life such as microbes. Pictured, an infrared, green, and blue image of the south pole of Mars taken by Mars Express in 2012 shows a complex mixture of layers of dirt, frozen carbon dioxide, and frozen water.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.