Washington DC: For years, scientists debated the presence of water at the south polar cap of Mars after interpreting the mysterious bright radar signals from ESA’s Mars Express MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding).
Many scientists believed the presence of water on Mars firmly but not every scientist supported the hypothesis. Now in the newly published study led by Aditya Kumar Khuller, NASA scientist at JPL with his colleague Jeffrey Plaut, has totally disregarded the hypothesis of the presence of water citing the low temperature.
Speaking to SYFY WIRE Aditya Kumar Khuller said, “We do not believe that the bright subsurface reflectors represent liquid water, because it would require anomalously high amounts of heat to allow liquid water to be stable at these locations.”
“In addition, there are some places where the bright reflectors extend close to the surface, where it is too cold for even brines to be stable in liquid form,” added Khuller.
To prove the new theory researchers needed the freezing environment like that on the south polar cap of Mars which was facilitated by Issac Smith of York University in Canada who used smectite samples to demonstrate the hypothesis.
Smith immersed smectite samples from the earth in liquid nitrogen to freeze them to -58 degrees Fahrenheit and recreated the extreme cold ambiance not exactly but approximately to that on the south pole of Mars. He measured the interactions with radar signals and it roughly matched the actual signals from the MARSIS observations.
“Smectite is abundant on Mars,” Smith said. It covers about half of the planet, especially in the southern hemisphere. This knowledge, combined with the mud’s low-temperature radar properties, suggest that smectites are the most likely explanation for the mystery.”
So the mysterious radar signals which were interpreted for the liquid water on Mars actually suggest the presence of mud. Although these observations do disprove the presence of liquid water on the Martian South Pole scientists still believe there is a lot more research to be done.