(TMU) – A number of liquid bodies have been found on Mars, raising the tantalizing possibility that liquid water could exist on the Red Planet long believed to be desolate and hostile to life.
A major new study published Monday by the journal Nature Astronomy indicates that a subterranean reservoir of extremely salty water is located close to the Martian south pole. For scientists, the existence of such a lake – along with a number of other wet areas – is a tell-tale sign that the planet could harbor its own native microscopic life, given the importance of liquid water to survival.
While some researchers still remain unconvinced that liquid water exists on Mars, the new study lends credibility to the belief that the Mars Express robot orbiter made the discovery, according to tentative findings from 2018 during the mission to radar map the planet’s crust.
The research gleaned from those findings found that an underground “lake” of liquid water lies beneath layers of sediment close to the planet’s south pole, similar to the subglacial lakes that exist underneath Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets here on Earth.
The 2018 study was hailed as a huge breakthrough in the search for alien life in our universe, in general, and on Mars, specifically, but skeptics continued to question whether scientists had actually accumulated enough details to know with certainty that they had actually found a vast lake of liquid water.
However, this latest study used the techniques used by the satellites orbiting our own planet to study the massive subterranean lakes underneath Antarctic glaciers to confirm that the vast store of liquid does exist on Mars, and spans about 15 miles across.
Earth’s own subglacial lakes thrive with bacterial life, leading scientists to believe that their Martian counterparts could also be teeming with microscopic activity.
“We are much more confident now,” said Elena Pettinelli, a geophysics professor at Italy’s Roma Tre University, who led the research on this and the previous study. “We did many more observations, and we processed the data completely differently.”
The researchers were also able to use the method to locate a patchwork of other buried reservoirs in the region, separated from the main reservoir.
Researchers still don’t know precisely how deep the reservoirs go, but they are located a bit more than a mile below the surface.
The data also shows that the bodies are likely filled with hypersaline solutions, or water that is so saturated with a thick concentrate of calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium that they are able to remain liquid despite the extremely cold conditions on the Martian south pole.
If these pools are filled with liquid water, they are a likely venue for microbial alien life – which itself could be the remnant of life that may have existed billions of years ago on the planet if Mars had the sort of oceanic expanses of water on its surface that the Earth does.
If the discovery is confirmed, this will be the very first time that liquid water will have been found on Mars.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.