November 26, 2022

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Mysterious reflections on Mars may come from something stranger than water

blue-grey photo of textured landscape

Scientists reconsidering a mysterious signal from the south pole of Mars have suggested a possible new explanation, and it doesn’t bode well for hopes of finding liquid water on the Red Planet.

In 2018, scientists used data from the European Space Agency Mars Express This was announced by the Earth’s Mars Advanced Radar and Ionosphere Sounding Instrument (MARSIS) They noticed a radar signal that could be interpreted as evidence of liquid water. This signal, a strange bright reflection, came from the south pole of Mars in a region known as Ultima Scopuli. Researchers studying the reversal now suggest that the signal did not come from the ice itself, or even from liquid water, but from the underlying geological layers made up of minerals and frozen carbon dioxide. In particular, it turns out that the thickness of these layers, and not what they consist of, creates a reflection of the other world.