Andy Swan of pointed this out to me recently.

Mars pond near Darwin Mars pond near Darwin

This is a rotated, contrast-enhanced crop from the narrow-angle Mars Global Surveyor photo strip available at

The pond we're looking at [white arrow] lies at the floor of a crater centered near 23.5° W, 60° S. The wider-angle context image M04-00605 (not shown) suggests a second such pond a bit further off to the right and at least several others in an adjacent crater. Older Viking coverage also shows some darkenings at those floors but the resolution isn't fine enough to see any more.

The dark-colored "floaters" within this liquid body vary in size from about 66 meters down to the limit of the image's resolution of about 4 meters per pixel.

Directly below I have provided a cropping at the same scale except with an equalized histogram (brightness values adjusted to provide a more even range from black to white) and some added false color.

Mars pond, cropping If this body is indeed a liquid, and it certainly gives every appearance of one, we would need to come up with some idea of what compounds could remain at that state at many tens of degrees below zero Celsius and under a relative vacuum of around 7 millibars. Water, if it's saturated with just the right salts, could remain liquid down to around -63 C (-81.4 F) and yet wouldn't boil until it passed +10 C (+50 F). That's not a bad temperature window, actually. Ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, chlorine and sulphur dioxide are also liquids at those sorts of temperatures under earth-normal pressure, but at 7 millibars they would all vaporize. The latter two come close, but they would each need an additional 8 millibars or so of pressure.

The floaters all look fuzzy around their edges, which might suggest they're covered with fine appendages -- branches perhaps. Further out from each floater we see a paler haze which here and there seems to interconnect them. Notice the arched distributions, especially that circular grouping near bottom center.

Now one might argue that these blobs are nonliving but dissolving slightly into the fluid, hence the blurs; but that's quite a stretch and it seems difficult to imagine a process like that which would be sustainable and repeatable over the eons. My vote is that we're looking at a colony of hundred-plus-foot-wide organisms that are either roughly spherical like bushes or flattened like pancakes.

A couple of weeks ago some high school students discovered in another MGS shot some extremely dark rocks sprinkled against a much lighter backdrop. Maybe these "rocks" are the same as the floaters we see in this liquid, and when the liquid dries up they go to seed or whatever and then disintegrate. These seeds then lie dormant in the soil until another opportunity arises.

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