Start packing your swim trunks along with your breathing masks because they just announced that a lake of water was found on Mars!
As reported in Popular Mechanics, the lake was found near the south pole of Mars by a team of Italian scientists working on Mars Express, a European Space Agency probe that has been orbiting Mars since 2003. It was discovered by ground penetrating radar and is believed to be around 12.4 miles since then.
The lake should be well below freezing, but the theory goes that the minerals around the lake include will include salts and magnesium and other minerals that would make the water brackish and keep it liquid.
What's more, there might be even more bodies of water! From the article:
The most intriguing possibility is that this Martian lake is not alone, but rather part of an extensive network expanding across the south polar region of Mars. “Data provide some hints that this single lake is not a unique finding," Orosei says. "We do see bright spots in other areas." MARSIS, however, does not have the technological capability to look for channels or rivers connecting a system of lakes.
"It would be a very different story if this was just an isolated patch of water produced by some thermal anomaly in the crust, let’s say, or if indeed the conditions under the polar caps are such that you have a fully connected hydraulic system like you have in Antarctica, in which most of the subglacial lakes are connected to each other so that material, and even life, potentially, could move from place to place," Orosei says.
But before we envision such a thing, follow-up observations must confirm that this one lake really does exist. Because for all the exciting data that has been obtained by MARSIS, there is one major problem: Another radar orbiting Mars, the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), has not been able to detect the underground reservoir at all.
So keep an eye on your favorite science blogs, folks! Let's see what other wonders we can find.