Possible Life on Mars indicated by Saltwater discovery in Antarctica, Researchers have discovered a saltwater network 1,000 feet below an ice-free region in Antarctica, and its implications are literally out of this world.
If life-supporting aquifers can exist in Antarctica, there’s a good possibility that they could exist on Mars, too. Antarctica is the region of Earth most similar to Mars, and the McMurdo Dry Valleys, where the saltwater was found, are some of Earth’s coldest, driest environments, The Verge explains.
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, explains that the find is significant because the saltwater was found at a temperature that could support microbial life. The researchers used an electromagnetic sensor to find Antarctica’s saltwater brines, and they found that beneath frozen surfaces, Antarctica has a system of interconnected, unfrozen aquifers. They believe the saltwater aquifers could be the byproducts of ancient ocean deposits or an evaporated lake.
While researchers believe Mars’ surface is too cold to for anything to live there, it’s possible that its subsurface could sustain life, especially if Antarctica’s subsurface could do so. The team plans to study larger areas of Antarctica to see if other regions could also be home to saltwater networks.