12-Mile Wide Lake Discovered on Mars

12-mile wide lake has been found on Mars, according to a new paper published in the journal, Science & Environment. Researchers found the lake buried thousands of feet beneath the planet’s frozen surface. Although researchers do not have solid details on the lake, it is estimated that the body of water is at least three-feet deep and a freezing negative-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

There have been discoveries of water on Mars in the past, however, evidence has found it frozen or dried-up due to the planet’s cool climate. This is the first time there has been any detection of liquid water on Mars, helping scientist's get one step closer to discovering potential life forms. 

“I think the chances now of finding a place to look for current life have gone up,” Scott Hubbard, a professor of astronautics at Stanford University told NBC News. Hubbard, who served as NASA's first Mars program director, also called the discovery “thrilling and exciting.”

But don’t expect to find new reports of extraterrestrials swimming in the 12-mile lake anytime soon.

"We are not closer to actually detecting life," Dr. Patel from the Open University told BBC News, "but what this finding does is give us the location of where to look on Mars. It is like a treasure map - except in this case, there will be lots of 'X's marking the spots."

According to the research, the newly discovered lake is likely to be extremely cold and salty. Those are “not ideal conditions for life to form,” Kirsten Siebach, a planetary scientist at Rice University in Houston, told the Associated Press. However, she added, "microbial life has been found in such environments on Earth."

Yet, the new discovery still brings a sense of hope that we might one day find some life form to share the galaxy with.

‘‘Our mantra back then was ‘follow the water.’ That was the one phrase that captured everything,’’ Hubbard said. ‘‘So this discovery, if it stands, is just thrilling because it’s the culmination of that philosophy.’’