A scientific team from the University of Arizona (US) found evidence of a recent underground volcanic activity under the ice-cold South Pole of Mars, according to a study published by the Geophysical Research Letters of the Geophysical Union of the United States.
The publication recalls that the Science magazine suggested last year that there was liquid water under that polar cap of the red planet, and now this new research claims that, in order for that water to exist there, there must be an underground heat source.
Scientists believe that there must be recent magmatic activity – such as the formation of a magma chamber in the last 100,000 years – so that there is sufficient heat to produce liquid water under a mile thick layer of ice.
In this sense, experts believe that if this underground magmatic activity has not occurred, it is unlikely that there will be water under the ice.
The possible presence of a recent magmatic activity on Mars suggests that the planet is active, from a geological point of view.
In addition, this study aims to deepen the debate about the possibility of liquid water on Mars, which could have implications when it comes to finding life outside the earth and could also serve as a tool for further human exploration of the planet in the world. . future.
"We believe that if there is any form of life, it is likely to have to be protected from radiation in the subsurface," says co-founder of the research, Ali Bramson, of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.
He stressed that "if magmatic processes are still active today, they may have been more common in the recent past, and could offer a more widespread basal melt, which could provide a more favorable environment for liquid water, and therefore the best, life. . "
Mars has two gigantic ice caps on its poles, both a few kilometers thick.
On earth it is common for liquid water to be under deep layers of ice, as a result of which the heat of the planet melts when it reaches the earth's crust.