In Brief
New evidence suggests that a vast network of salty liquid water exists below the surface — a finding that lends support to the idea that microbial life may exist beneath the surface of Mars as well.
  • Approximately 4.5 billion years ago, 20 percent of the Martian surface was likely covered in water. Today, Mars may still be home to small amounts of salty liquid water, which would exist on the planet’s soil at night before evaporating during the daytime. Taken together, these findings are pretty exciting for those who hope to discover life on Mars.
  • Unfortunately, researchers have also pointed out that the Martian surface is far too cold for the survival of any known forms of life. That’s why some scientists have started to wonder about what may lie beneath the Martian surface.
  • Now that this initial study is complete, the team hopes to return to survey a larger area using more recent technology. This kind of research is important because it provides an opportunity to ask a set of new questions about what the limits to life are, where life exists on Earth, and how widespread these ecosystems might be.