What’s going on?
Researchers said they found three additional underground lakes near the main, large one that was perviously discovered.
- “We identified the same body of water, but we also found three other bodies of water around the main one,” said planetary scientist Elena Pettinelli at the University of Rome, who is one of the paper’s co-authors. “It’s a complex system.”
- This is “a huge discovery, seeing as those lakes are potential habitats for life,” Engadget reports.
The scientists wrote in a published paper that there was some skepticism about their 2018 discovery since it was mainly from observations made in 2012 to 2015. But the new study comes from observations that were made between 2012 and 2019.
Researchers used the same technique that helps scientists discover glacial lakes on Earth — sending radio waves that will bounce off different surfaces to identify different materials.
Does this mean there’s life on Mars?
It’s unlikely. Critics of the research said the lakes might not have enough heat to actually have liquid water there. And there’s no guarantee there will be life in those lakes.
- “There’s not much active life in ... briny pools in Antarctica. They’re just pickled. And that might be the case (on Mars),” John Priscu, an environmental scientist at Montana State University, told Nature.