The sparkling clock of the Mars pole turns out not to be water

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia

A mysterious signal from Mars caught in 2018 did not come from the water. This was revealed when the experts reviewed signal That.

To collect Space, the signal was first captured in 2018 using data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) MARSIS spacecraft. The received signal is a strange, bright reflection from the South Pole of Mars, called Ultima Scopuli.

At the time, experts suspected the signal was evidence of liquid water on Mars. However, experts admitted that this assumption may be wrong.


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Through another investigation, the experts assessed that the signal did not come from a layer of ice or liquid water. The signal probably came from underground geological strata made of frozen minerals and carbon dioxide.

In particular, it was the thickness of the layers that proved to be the cause of the strange reflection. On Earth, such reflections usually come from liquid water such as subglacial lakes such as Lake Vostok, located in Antarctica.

The lake lies under a 3 kilometer thick layer of ice for millions of years. This gives rise to bright radar signals, such as those found on Mars.

However, the similarity does not guarantee the existence of liquid water on the Red Planet – as Mars is called -.

To investigate this strange signal, the experts used MARSIS data plus computer simulations. They then simulated ice sheets and other objects such as basalt rock that formed after a volcanic eruption on Mars.

This is to see how the material reacts to incoming light.

Given the extraordinary amount of carbon dioxide frozen at the Martian South Pole, experts would certainly have included it in the simulation. Consequently, it is known from a simulation that the separation and thickness of the layer determine the reflection that appears.

“I could use rock layers or even granular water ice and I could get the same results,” said Dan Lalich of Cornell University who led the study.

The purpose of this study is that the composition of the basalt layer is less important than its thickness and separation, “he added.

Site citation Cornell University, Lalich uses radar data to study planetary surfaces. He himself is interested in the evolution of the climate on Mars and focuses on modeling radar reflections at the Martian poles.

Lalich then used a one-dimensional modeling procedure that is commonly used to interpret MARSIS observation data. He then created a simulation with layers composed of four materials, namely the atmosphere, water ice, carbon dioxide ice and basalt.

Then, Lalich tested the material with electromagnetic radiation to see how it interacted. Simulations with three layers – 2 layers of CO 2, separated by a single layer of granular ice – produced the same reflection as the actual observation.

However, the Lalich test does not necessarily rule out the possibility of liquid water on Mars. “Nothing from our work disproves the possibility of water there,” Lalich said.

“We just think a hypothesis like this is more consistent with other observations. I’m not sure actions like drilling can prove this debate is right or wrong,” he concluded.

[Gambas:Video CNN]

(lesimo / lesimo)

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