back to article Good news: Euro sat spots liquid pools on Mars. Bad news: Under ice, saltier than someone who put last penny into a failed crypto biz

Pools of salty liquid surround a larger lake of water hidden beneath a thick crust of ice below the Martian south pole. That's according to findings published in Nature Astronomy on Monday. Astronomers analyzing radar data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft detected a bright layer buried 1.5km (1 mile) …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Life as we know it

    "Here's a planet where life has pretty much been ruled out, though."

    Life as we know it ITYM. So long as there's an energy gradient and materials that could be used to store genetic data in some form even if its something completely out there such as stable vortexes in a molten liquid, then there's always the potential for some sort of life to evolve even if it is absolutely nothing whatsoever like ours.

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Life as we know it

      DNA won’t work, far too hot. Silicon based life won’t be as varied as carbon based. There are very good reasons why carbon is the basis of all life we know about. Carbon based lifeforms won’t exist at those temperatures.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    Jupiter like in terms of size or a gas giant?

    If is solely in terms of size then it us not Jupiter like, I find it difficult to imagine a 3000+C° gas giant.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      > I find it difficult to imagine a 3000+C° gas giant

      Me too. Especially so near an active star.

      On the other hand we don't know how long it has been there. Maybe the gas giant is getting progressively stripped of its gas, and in a (astronomically) short time it will be mostly "Gone with the (solar) Wind"?

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      On the contrary, there are many gas giants that have been found close to their star and tidally locked.

      It's a wonder why our own Jupiter didn't end up there as well - except we have Saturn.

      This astrophysicist thinks that is the reason.

      1. Denarius Silver badge

        gas it might be, what what element is in gaseous form ? At those temperatures the transition elements are most likely, not light ones. As for life, the randomisation by heat makes any stable matter complex highly unlikely, let alone life. Wish fulfillment, too much cheap later Star Trek or worse, blah blah

      2. Muscleguy Silver badge

        The idea also explains both the asteroid belt and the small size of Mars (the rest of the mass which would have made a bigger Mars is in that belt.

        A bigger Mars with a decent magnetic dynamo core would have held onto it’s atmosphere and surface water. A moderate greenhouse (those volcanoes) could even have kept it reasonably toasty. Not tropical perhaps but mild to freezing. Definitely fine for life.

        Can you imagine the first telescopes turned to the Blue/Green planet (war god if not red?) may well have seen oceans not just ‘canals’. Two cradles of life in the same system. With known life on Mars we would not have stopped with Luna. We would have gone there before now.

    3. Killing Time

      I personally find it difficult to imagine a common or garden gas giant which up until now I understood is theorized not to have a conventional surface and consists predominantly of hydrogen and helium, the two lowest mass elements in the universe . Here we have a comparison which contradicts that theory by proposing a surface while swerving the obvious question, if iron were to vaporize on the 'surface' what does the 'surface' consist of?

      Seems a poor comparison when the most probable comparable property is 'big'.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Given that most elements inclduing most metals are a gas at that temperature take your pick as to what the "gas" could be.

    5. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Jupiter like in terms of size or a gas giant?

      Both! According to the ESA, a gas giant the same sorta size as Jupiter (this one is 1.6x the size of Jupiter, is a gas giant, and has 3200C surface temps).

      C.

  3. FBee

    Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward

    Life as we know it?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward

      Life as we know it?

      A Friday night in Hull?

  4. HildyJ Silver badge
    Pint

    Salty

    While it might be bad news for those looking for Marvin the Martian, we already know of Earth extremophiles that can exist in similar environments. Plus, the mission to explore them seems easier than those proposed missions to Europa or Enceladus.

    Pints all around (or maybe extra salty Margaritas).

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