Recently, it became known that lava ran across the Martian surface. Now there is another news from the distant planet. The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter mission discovered that there are large amounts of water on Mars. They are underneath a mountain range.
Searching for new lands
The finding is from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos. It inaugurates a new stage in space exploration. Decades ago it aims to find alternative spaces for humanity. They hope to identify them for when the Earth is no longer habitable.
The ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) mission has found water. It is an area of the red planet known as Valles Marineris. Its structure is similar to the Grand Canyon of Arizona. However, its size is 10 times longer and 20 times wider.
Beneath the surface of that mountainous strip lie water reservoirs. This was reported by the FREND instrument, which detects and maps all the hydrogen it finds in its path.
The Grand Canyon of Mars lies south of the planet’s equator. Temperatures there are not so low that the water is frozen. The highest concentrations of H2O on Mars are at the poles.
Lots of water
“FREND revealed an area with an unusually large amount of hydrogen. It’s in the colossal Valles Marineris canyon system. Forty percent of the near-surface material in this region appears to be water.” Igor Mitrofanov of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences explained.
The area where the water was discovered is the size of the Netherlands. The news of the large amounts of water on Mars was given by ESA in a statement.
“Much more water than we expected. This is very similar to the regions of permafrost earth’s permafrost. There, water ice persists permanently under the dry soil due to the constant low temperatures.
What else do they hope to identify? Atmospheric methane and other gases. It will be used to determine if there is biological activity on Mars.