Mars will be big and bright over the next several days

Gwen Vasquez
August 1, 2018

Our planetary neighbor has been a popular target for exploration, with rovers on its surface and other probes examining the planet from orbit.

Indeed if the water ice contained at the South Pole melted today, then scientists say that the entire surface of the planet would be covered by an ocean 11 metres deep.

The sun, Earth and Mars will be aligned in a straight line.

"Imagine that we're sitting on the Earth - looking at Mars". This very almost coincides with its [the earth's] closest approach to Mars as the two objects orbit the Sun. Hubble's high-resolution images of the planets and moons in our Solar System can only be surpassed by pictures taken from spacecraft that actually visit them.

Radio waves beamed down to the surface by Marsis penetrated through the ice and bounced back to the spacecraft. The properties of the material that lies between influences the returned signal, which can be used to map the subsurface topography.

Evidence of water has been seen on Mars many times, but it is usually ancient, fleeting or frozen. A particularly bright radar reflection underneath the layered deposits is identified within a 20 km-wide zone. This was interpreted by the Italian team involved in the project for ESA as a sign of liquid water.

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Finally, just when we thought we were all alone in this galaxy, scientists discovered a troubling fact.

NASA scientists were not part of this paper but when media interviewed Jim Green, Chief Scientist, NASA, he remarked-"The bright spot seen in the MARSIS data is an unusual feature and extremely intriguing". "Now we see things that simply were not possible before", added Cicchetti.

On Earth, researchers utilize a similar method to distinguish subglacial lakes and different waterways underneath the thick, Antarctic ice sheets. Scientists believe the water is kept in liquid form by a salty brine that Orosei and colleagues speculatively describe as a "sludge".

Either way, the discovery greatly increases the chances of extraterrestrial life existing on Mars. With Elon Musk's ambitious plans to send manned Missions to Mars and colonize it in coming decades, the new discovery is very important for exploring life on Mars and plan future human colonies and more ambitious expeditions for terraforming the red planet.

The phenomenon known as Mars Opposition typically happens every two years, but this year, Mars will be closest its been to earth since 2003.

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