Friday , September 24 2021

Scientists suspect that the polar lakes of Mars are just frozen clay



Planet Mart. (Wikipedia / NASA)

Hitekno.com – Scientists highlight the existence of polar lakes on the planet Mars. But a new study finds that the location was not what it used to be.


The scientists found that the bright reflection detected by radar under the south pole of Mars was probably not an underground lake as previously thought.


But according to scientists in the study, the location of the so-called polar lake are only clay deposits.


For decades, experts have suspected that water hides under the polar caps of Mars.


In 2018, a team of scientists using the European Space Agency’s (ESA) MARSIS radar probe instrument on Mars Express detected evidence of a lake hidden beneath the red planet’s polar ice cap.


Then, in 2020, the team found signs of several super salty lakes.


Experts note that if this lake is a remnant of water that existed on the surface, it is possible that the lake has hosted life and still exists.


However, to form and maintain liquid water in the Martian region, very high amounts of heat and salt are required., ”Isaac Smith, a planetary scientist at York University in Toronto, was quoted as saying by Space.com on Friday (30/7/2021).


The south pole of Mars was once confused with an underground lake. [NASA]
The south pole of Mars was once confused with an underground lake. [NASA]

York said the clay minerals known in the south polar region of Mars could explain radar reflection.


Scientists focused on a mineral known as smectite, a type of clay that has a chemical composition closer to that of volcanic rock than other types of clay.


Smectite is formed when eroded volcanic rock undergoes gentle chemical changes after interacting with water. This clay can contain large amounts of water.


The team cooled the smectite in the lab to minus (-) 43 degrees Celsius, after the temperature on Mars.


Experts found that water containing smectite can produce the kind of bright radar reflection detected by MARSIS.


Earlier, Smith and his team analyzed data collected at the south pole of Mars and also found smectite evidence.


The team says smectite forms at the south pole of Mars during the summer, when the area is covered in water.


This water-containing clay is buried under icy water.


In conclusion, scientists suspect that smectites are the most likely explanation for the detection of bright radar reflections seen on Mars rather than the presence of super-salty lakes.


Water research on Mars is still in the spotlight, because it is possible to create life on this red planet. (Suara.com/ Lintang Siltya Utami).






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