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Is there life on Mars? A staggering new find just improved the odds

Italian astronomers have detected a shallow body of liquid water beneath the planet’s South Polar ice cap

By Philip Ball  

A buried lake at the South Pole on Mars. The blue area is thought to be a lake of liquid water below the surface. Photo: US Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center, Arizona State University/National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), Bologna

Anyone expecting the moon’s Sea of Tranquility to live up to its name will have been disappointed with the expanse of dry, barren rock revealed when Apollo 11 landed there 49 years ago. The naming of this expanse of lunar territory by the Italian Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riccioli in 1651…

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