For years, scientists have explored the possibility of finding life on other planets especially Mars and now, researchers have confirmed the presence of three more lakes on the red planet. Also Read - Is There Life on Venus? Discovery of Phosphine in The Planet's Atmosphere Could Be An Indicator of Alien Life
New research published on Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy confirmed the presence of one saltwater lake, which was discovered two years ago, and also found three more lakes hidden under the surface of Mars. The discovery was made using radar data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) orbiting Mars Express spacecraft.
The findings reveal that these lakes are spread over about 75,000 square kilometres, which is roughly one-fifth the size of Germany. The largest, central lake measures 30 kilometres across and is surrounded by three smaller lakes. Meanwhile, the water is thought to be very salty in order for it to remain liquid at cold temperatures.
Notably, water bodies with salt content five times over seawater can sustain life, but if the salt content is 20 times over Earth seawater levels, life cannot exist in such water bodies, the report said.
“It follows the detection of a single subsurface lake in the same region in 2018 – which, if confirmed, would be the first body of liquid water ever detected on the red planet and a possible habitat for life,” the report added.
Scientists say that a lake would significantly improve the likelihood that Mars might harbour microscopic life of its own and these findings could be key in the search for alien life on the planet.
“Mars was once warmer and wetter with water flowing across the surface, much like early Earth. While it is not possible for water to remain stable on the surface today, the new result opens the possibility that an entire system of ancient lakes might exist underground, perhaps millions or even billions of years old. They would be ideal locations to search for evidence of life on Mars, albeit very difficult to reach,” the researchers said.
However, not everyone is on board with the idea and many researchers said they needed more evidence to support the claim.