Life on mars: scientists discover “buried treasure” – an underground ice lake
Life on Mars has been the subject of much debate and speculation that has gripped our minds since we gazed upon the stars. Many years ago, the discovery of ice in the red planet offered some clues as to whether it once had water and was able to support life sometime in the distant past.
NASA scientists recently discovered an underground dry ice lake containing more carbon dioxide than originally thought. The trapped carbon dioxide is thought to have come from the planet's atmosphere earlier in its history when it was conducive for life on Mars to exist.
"It really is a buried treasure," said Jeffrey Plaut, a scientist of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a report appearing in the journal Science. "We found something underground that no one else realized was there."
The discovery was made possible through ground-penetrating radar of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter who is searching for clues of life on Mars.
Dry ice on Mars is not a new discovery, but the recent finding suggests that what is locked down there is about 30 times more than originally thought.
Scientists have often wondered where atmospheric gases capable of supporting life on Mars went and resulted to the present thin atmosphere of the planet. They speculate that some gases became trapped in dry ice as part of a seasonal cycle.
Still, even the enormous amounts of dry ice discovered will not be able recreate an atmosphere thick enough to support life on Mars, the scientists said.
The polar ice caps as well as existing canyons, gullies and river channels who have carved the surface of the planet are the other possible signs of past life on Mars.