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A Lake on Mars?

UNDER THE ICE This image is from the Mars Global Surveyor. It shows the Red Planet’s frozen south pole. NASA/JPL/MALIN SPACE SCIENCE SYSTEMS

An international group of scientists says there might be a lake beneath the ice at Mars’s south pole. If there is liquid water, that could mean that the frigid planet is still producing heat. Which might mean life.

The findings were published in Nature Astronomy in September. Earlier studies used satellites to search for water. One was equipped with radar. Another used lasers to measure the planet’s terrain. The new study used computer models. Scientists plugged in data from the other studies, then created models of how water would act beneath the ice on Mars. Each study suggested the presence of a lake.

Mars once had lots of liquid water. But billions of years ago, it lost its magnetic field. Solar winds stripped away the atmosphere. Scientists think some of the water escaped into space.