mars spacecraft beams us the next chapter of humanity's search for extraterrestrial life
 

mars spacecraft beams us the next chapter of humanity's search for extraterrestrial life

a paper published in science magazine has revealed the possibility of ‘a stable body of liquid water on mars.’ the MARSIS (mars advanced radar for subsurface and ionosphere sounding) instrument aboard the mars express spacecraft has been conducting radio echo sounding (RES) experiments as a method to ‘extensively and successfully detect liquid water at the bottom of terrestrial polar ice sheets.‘ instruments such as the MARSIS function by sending out a signal and examining what is bounced back, similar to how bats and dolphins utilize echolocation.

 


this video depicts how the MARSIS instrument functions aboard the mars express spacecraft
banner image courtesy of NASA | video courtesy of explore mars, inc

 

 

on earth, after a quantitative analysis of the ‘radar profiles collected between may 2012 and december 2015‘ from the MARSIS instrument, scientists found that a bright feature that matches the relative dielectric permittivity (definition by em geosci: ‘diagnostic physical property which characterizes the degree of electrical polarization a material experiences under the influence of an external electric field’) of water-bearing materials.

location of the 20km lake-like body of water of the south pole can be found in the left graph in the black box
illustrations via radar evidence of subglacial liquid water on mars

 

 

the idea that there could be liquid water at the bottom of the martian polar ice caps was hypothesized more than 30 years ago, but this paper has provided groundbreaking evidence and a potential next chapter in humanity’s search for life on other planets. the area of this study was at the southern ice cap on mars on a 20-kilometer-wide zone, which could potentially be a lake-like body of water. 
 
A) demonstrates strong basal reflections at some locations, where the basal interface is also planar and parallel to the surface
B) red dots, surface echo power; blue dots, subsurface echo power

the debate over the south polar layered deposits or consistency of what it was made out of led is part of the discovery of water

this animation by ESA mimics a passover by the mars express spacecraft of the northern pole ice cap on mars

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    PRODUCT LIBRARY

    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    technology news

    ×
    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    490,138 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample