A new discovery could potentially prove that the Red Planet has life. A vast underground lake has been found in the south polar region of Mars, which has gone completely above and beyond any expectations.
The photo was taken by the orbiter Mars Express, which was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA). Radio-location data was analyzed by experts at the ESA and liquid water was found beneath a layer of ice and dust.
More specifically, the discovery was made using the Italian-developed MARSIS, which is mounted on the Mars Express orbiter. The lake was measured to be 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) wide, 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) beneath the surface.
Since the lake is located underground, it is actually shielded from the raw conditions on the Martian surface, which could in turn mean that some forms of life may exist there.
This natural water reservoir has not changed since it was formed, while according to prof. Alan Duffy from Swinburne University of Technology, it's further proof that water on Mars isn't as scarce as scientists believed years ago.
He explains that it is more likely for us to find forms of life in such large water bodies.
But some scientists are already skeptical toward this hypothesis. The subterranean lake most likely does not consist of freshwater, plus its core is cold and harsh. At such temperatures, combined with high quantities of magnesium, calcium and sodium it is unlike there is any life - at least life as we know it.
A large concentration of salts in the water would be fatal for even the smallest life forms. But what this discovery does prove is that Mars wasn't always the cold and moist desert that we see today.