On Mars: Researchers discover surprising water reserves

Organizations like NASA and ESA have been studying the Red Planet for decades. One of their main goals is to Water on mars to detect. The European Space Agency could have made a major breakthrough in precisely this search. They have discovered surprising reserves in what is probably the largest gorge in our solar system.

Water on Mars – hidden under dust

In the Valles Marineris, a system of canyons around 4,000 kilometers long, scientists have found an unusually high amount of hydrogen inside. To do this, they made use of data from the FREND instrument of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter from the agencies ESA and Roscosmos. The water on Mars is said to be in the bottom of the region – at a depth of up to one meter below the surface. It could either be bound in minerals or in frozen form beneath the surface.

“With the Trace Gas Orbiter we can look up to a meter below this layer of dust and see what is really going on under the surface of Mars – and above all, locate water-rich” oases “that could not be discovered with earlier instruments.”

Igor Mitrofanov (via ESA)

FREND discovered an area with an unusually high amount of hydrogen in the colossal canyon system of the Valles Marineris. Assuming that the hydrogen is bound in water molecules, “up to 40 percent of the near-surface material in this region appears to consist of water”.

Crucial breakthrough

It is no secret that frozen water occurs on Mars. It can be found mainly on the poles of the Red Planet. Most recently, however, the research focused on those potential occurrences that cannot be seen with the naked eye. They are mostly hidden under the dusty surface of the planet.

“We found that a central part of Valles Marineris is packed with water – a lot more water than we expected. This is very similar to the permafrost regions of the world, where water ice is permanently preserved under the dry ground due to the constantly low temperatures. “

Igor Mitrofanov (via ESA)

As part of their study published in the specialist journal Icarus, the researchers go into more detail about their approach to the find.

Sources: ESA; “The evidence for unusually high hydrogen abundances in the central part of Valles Marineris on Mars” (2021, Icarus)

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