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13 of the coolest scientific discoveries of the year

From new planets to DNA breakthroughs to whale earwax, 2018 has been filled with fascinating scientific stories.

2. It looks like there’s a lake on Mars
2. It looks like there’s a lake on Mars
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This past summer, a report in Science revealed that radar scans from the Mars Express spacecraft had detected an underground lake on the red planet, below the southern ice cap. (The Mars Express is a project of the European Space Agency.)

Although ice and gaseous water have been found on Mars, its surface clearly shows that at some point in the past the planet had plenty of liquid water that had somehow gone missing, according to National Geographic.

If the Martian seas somehow ended up as underground reservoirs, they could provide resources for future human missions to the planet.

Even more intriguingly, astrobiologists say the lake could be conducive to life: Elena Pettinelli of Italy’s Roma Tre University—one of the paper’s authors—points out that the similar environment of the Antarctic hosts living bacteria.

If you believe the news, a human mission to Mars is no longer a sci-fi fantasy. But what problems would we need to overcome? And should we even try?



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