Radar evidence of subglacial liquid water on Mars

DIPC Seminars

Federico Di Paolo
Donostia International Physics Center
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Radar evidence of subglacial liquid water on Mars Between May 2012 and December 2015 the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS), a low-frequency radar onboard the Mars Express spacecraft of the European Space Agency (ESA) collected data above the Planum Australe region on Mars. Anomalously bright subsurface reflections in such area are evident within a well-defined, 20-kilometer-wide zone surrounded by much less reflective areas. Quantitative analysis of the radar signals shows that this bright feature has high relative dielectric permittivity (>15), matching that of water-bearing materials. We interpret this feature as a stable body of liquid water trapped below the ice of the South Polar Layered Deposits of Mars.