There's a big, salty lake on Mars! Yeah, that's huge. Here's what we know.

Holy cow, there's water on Mars!

An artist's rendition of the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiting the Red Planet. Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

This is not a drill, Earthlings. It looks like our celestial neighbor has a big 'ol lake on it.

Er, maybe I should say, a big 'ol lake in it.


Italian scientists claim they've detected a large body of liquid — spanning about 12.5 miles across — submerged roughly a mile beneath a layer of rock and ice on the planet's south pole.

"Whoa" is right.

This isn't the lake! But this pic, taken by the European Space Agency's Mars Express, does show a Martian river valley where water likely once flowed — a long, long time ago. Photo by ESA/AFP/Getty Images.

These brainy folks spent the last two years sorting through data collected from the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft. Liquid H2O is the only feasible answer to what their radar's seeing.

As Roberto Orosei from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics put it, "I really have no other explanation."

It must be water.

They're not exactly sure how deep the lake is.

But from what they can gather, the water isn't "some kind of meltwater filling some space between rock and ice, as happens in certain glaciers on Earth," according to Orosei, lead author of the study that produced the findings. It's a legit body of water.

Even though scientists know the lake is frigid cold — certainly well below freezing — its super salty consistency has likely lowered the melting point so that the water stays in liquid form.

Scientists have long suspected Mars was once a whole lot wetter than it is today.

Given that the planet's rocky, freeze-dried surface is scarred from what appears to be waterways from billions of years ago, scientists have gathered the Red Planet was once a lot more blue.

Mars' surface is one dry place these days. Photo by ESA via Getty Images.

But liquid water is the key to life as we know it. So if it's still on Mars ... well, you can put two and two together.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves!

These findings certainly don't prove Martians are paddle-boarding around their planet's south pole.

"We are not closer to actually detecting life," Dr. Manish Patel of the Open University told BBC News. "But what this finding does is give us the location of where to look [for potential life] on Mars."

"It is like a treasure map," Patel concluded. "Except in this case, there will be lots of 'X's marking the spots."

Let's get to searching, Earthlings.

True

Temwa Mzumara knows firsthand what it feels like to watch helplessly as a loved one fights to stay alive. In fact, experiencing that level of fear and vulnerability is what inspired her to become a nurse anesthetist. She wanted to be involved in the process of not only keeping critically ill people alive, but offering them peace in the midst of the unknown.

"I want to, in the minutes before taking the patient into surgery, develop a trusting and therapeutic relationship and help instill hope," said Mzumara. Especially now, with Covid restrictions, loved ones are unable to be at the side of a patient heading to surgery which makes the ability to understand and quiet her patients' fears such an important part of what she does.

Temwa | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Dedicated to making a difference in the lives of her patients, Nurse Mzumara is one of the four nurses featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series by CeraVe® that honors nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to their patients and communities.

Keep Reading Show less
Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less