The best place for life found on Mars: it is located in the depths of the planet

Deep in Mars, water-based life could exist

The best area for life on the Red Planet could be deep below the surface. The researchers concluded that while studying the features of Mars. They explain their assumption by the possible subsurface melting of powerful ice sheets, which are fed by geothermal heat. Lead researcher Ludgendre Oge of Rutgers University believes the conducted research has the potential to resolve the so-called faint young sun paradox, a key issue in the Mars science.

Computer simulations ran out of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere of early Mars, but under natural conditions it is difficult for the planet to maintain long-term warmth and humidity in such conditions. It is the paradox of a weak young sun, it can be applied to Mars, at least for the reason that in the past there could be strong geothermal heat on the Red Planet.

The sun is considered a huge thermonuclear reactor. It not only emits light, but also heat that warms the planets in the solar system. 4 billion years ago, the sun's energy was significantly weaker than it is now. And the climate of Mars was colder. But the surface of the Red Planet has many geological indicators. These are ancient riverbeds, as well as minerals associated with water, that the astronomers regard as chemical indicators.

Their combination indicates that there was a lot of liquid water on the Mars, it was about 4.1-3.7 billion years ago. On other rocky planets similar to Mars, such as Earth, Venus, Mercury, there are elements that generate heat. These are uranium, thorium and potassium.

Heat is generated by radioactive decay. In such a situation, liquid water is formed during the melting of dense ice sheets even with weak solar energy. On the Earth, geothermal heat is also generated, it occurs in the regions of West Antarctica, Greenland. In that case, subglacial lakes are formed.

That process can explain the presence of liquid water on Mars 4 billion years ago. By studying data on the Red Planet, the astronomers discovered a possible heating of Mars in the era of Noah, it happened with the help of geothermal heat. The conditions required for subsurface ice melting could be ubiquitous.

Even if 4 billion years ago a warm and humid climate existed on the planet with a loss of the magnetic field, thinning of the atmosphere and a further drop in global temperatures, then liquid water could still remain only at great depths under the planet's soil surface. So it is possible that it was there that life could be present.

More information: L. Ojha at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in Piscataway, NJ el al., "Groundwater production from geothermal heating on early Mars and implication for early martian habitability," Science Advances (2020). … .1126/sciadv.abb1669