August 20, 2018

Is There Really a Lake on Mars?

31 July 2018, 02:35 | Edward Lowe

On Mars a dust storm erupted in the southern hemisphere and ballooned into a global dust storm enshrouding the entire planet

On Mars a dust storm erupted in the southern hemisphere and ballooned into a global dust storm enshrouding the entire planet

Our neighbouring planet will appear unusually large and bright, a mere 57.7 million kilometres (35.9 million miles) from Earth on its elliptical orbit around the sun.

In this position [opposition], the Sun, Earth, and Mars form a straight line. Visitors to the Calvin College Observatory will have the chance to see the planet under high magnification, turning that bright red "star" into a resolved planet - hopefully with the chance to see dark surface features and a polar ice cap. If so, then we are talking about a real revolution in the study of the planet. To find the water, Italian researchers analyzed radar signals collected over three years by the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft. Leaving aside any significance this might have for astrologers, from an astronomical point of view there's one thing you can say for sure about this Mars opposition: Mars will be brighter in the night sky than it's been for 15 years. "And also closer to the Sun than it has been in a long time", Gilmore said.

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On Earth, one group of organisms known as "halophiles" thrive in highly salty conditions such as those found in the Dead Sea and Utah's Great Salt Lake. In the past missions, many Mars orbiters and the lander Phoenix had detected the existence of water ice on Mars, while a paper published in Science earlier this year showed that large quantities of water ice are likely to exist in the shallow subsurface of Martian middle latitude regions.

"The radar profile of this area is similar to that of lakes of liquid water found beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets on Earth, suggesting that there is a subglacial lake at this location on Mars", said the report. However, our closest neighbor was pretty close to us for Hubble to take some astonishing pics with Mars and its two moons, Phobos and Deimos.

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The close approach, described as the celestial event of the year, will begin on Friday and last until Tuesday, July 31. On average, the distance between Mars and Earth is about 140 million miles. Saturn and its rings can be seen shining clearly in the new portrait, while the features of Mars are wreathed by a planet-encompassing dust storm. In fact, Mars is shining brighter than Jupiter.

Scheduled for 8:30 midnight Friday and Saturday, the 20-inch Kohl telescope will be made available to the public so that Mars can be seen in detail. Due to this finding, there is a clue that life might also be there.

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