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      Another look at possible under-ice lakes on Mars: They’re still there

      John Timmer · / ArsTechnica · Monday, 28 September, 2020 - 20:59

    Red and blue color-coded contour lines depict under-ice lakes.

    Enlarge (credit: ESA )

    In recent decades, we've become aware of lots of water on Earth that's deep under ice. In some cases, we've watched this nervously, as it's deep underneath ice sheets, where it could lubricate the sheets' slide into the sea. But we've also discovered lakes that have been trapped under ice near the poles, possibly for millions of years, raising the prospect that they could harbor ancient ecosystems.

    Now, researchers are applying some of the same techniques that we've used to find those under-ice lakes to data from Mars. And the results support an earlier claim that there are bodies of water trapped under the polar ice of the red planet.

    Spotting liquids from orbit

    Mars clearly has extensive water locked away in the forum of ice, and some of it cycles through the atmosphere as orbital cycles make one pole or the other a bit warmer. But there's not going to be pure liquid water on Mars—the temperatures just aren't high enough for very long, and the atmospheric pressures are far too low to keep any liquid water from boiling off into the atmosphere.

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