Mars, hidden waters

Hidden waters discovered under the surface of Mars

The gas-tracking team of the Russian-European space program ExoMars discovered "significant amounts" of water hidden below the surface of Mars, in the heart of the Valles Marineris canyon, reported the European Space Agency.

"We discovered that a central part of Valles Marineris is filled with water, much more than we expected," said Alexei Malajov, a member of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. "This is very similar to permafrost regions on Earth, where ice persists permanently under dry soil due to constant low temperatures," he explained. 

The finding was revealed by an instrument of the space orbiter, in charge of mapping the hydrogen present on the red planet. "With it we can look up to a meter below that layer of dust, see what is really happening in the subterranean regions and, more importantly, locate water-rich 'oases' that could not be detected with previous instruments." Malajov pointed out. 

One of the reasons that this solid state reservoir is not exposed on the surface is that the water generally evaporates due to the temperature and atmosphere conditions at the planet's equator. The statement suggests that "there must be a special combination of conditions, still unclear, to preserve the liquid." 

Encouraging outlook for future exploring

The discovered area, which occupies the largest canyon in the solar system, is about the size of the Netherlands. The space mission claims that it could be "easily exploitable" for future explorers, due to its shallow depth. (Text and photos: RT) 

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