The questions about the location of Mars’ missing water are many and in the minds of scientists for some time. The latest discoveries, however, give us further important clues about this: a recent study, in fact, has identified a canyon system with hidden water reserves.
The discovery made through the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter’s FEND (Epithermic Neutron Detector at Fine Resolution) tool concerns a canyon system known as Valles Marineris, or commonly. FREND proved essential, as it allowed to observe coast is really happening under the surface of Mars up to a meter deep.
Well, as explained by the physicist Igor Mitrofanov of the Space Research Institute of the Academy of Sciences in Russia,
The presence of water on Mars is already known to scientists, especially at cold poles in the form of ice, but the discovery of new underground reserves on a planet apparently extremely dry is remarkable. In the specific case of the central part of the Valles Marineris, it is a reserve similar to the permafrost regions of the Earth, where the water ice persists under dry ground due to the constant low temperatures.
In fact, the persistence of the water remains a mystery as pressure and temperature at the equator should prevent its formation, so scientists will now have to find other answers by analysing the geomorphological conditions in the Valles Marineris. After that, the permafrost could allow them to access potential life forms that remain within it. I wonder what surprises the red giant will still give us!
If you want to take a first look at Mars, here is a spectacular view captured by the Curiosity Rover.