November 04, 2022
Cornell University astronomers claim that geological layers, rather than liquid water, are more likely to be the cause of bright reflections beneath Mars' South Pole's surface.
Bright reflections on Earth are frequently a sign of liquid water, even submerged lakes like Lake Vostok, according to study colleague Dan Lalich.
Lalich simulated atmosphere, water ice, CO2 ice, and basalt, assigning each layer a permittivity, a material's fundamental attribute that specifies its electromagnetic radiation interaction.
Simulations with three levels, two CO2 layers and a dusty ice layer produced reflections as brilliant as observations.
The models showed that layer thickness and spacing affected reflected power more than composition.
Lalich noted that due to the stakes involved, it is crucial to identify what on Mars is not liquid water.
Lalich does not exclude liquid water's effects on Mars' internal heating, polar cap age, and recent climate change.