London: An international team of researchers has found new evidence for the possible existence of liquid water beneath the south polar ice cap of Mars.
The results, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, provide the first independent line of evidence, using data other than radar, that there is liquid water beneath Mars' south pole.
The researchers, led by the University of Cambridge with involvement from the University of Sheffield, used spacecraft laser-altimeter measurements of the shape of the upper surface of the ice cap to identify subtle patterns in its height.
They then showed that these patterns match computer model predictions for how a body of water beneath the ice cap would affect the surface.
The researchers also varied the amount of geothermal heat coming from inside the planet. These experiments generated undulations on the simulated ice surface that were similar in size and shape to those the team observed on the real ice cap surface.