There’s water on Mars.For the first time, scientists have detected a lake of salty water under the Martian ice, a study released Wednesday said. The lake is about a mile under the surface and stretches 12 miles across.The presence of water under the Martian polar ice caps has long been suspected but not seen until now, the study said.The discovery raises the possibility of finding life on the Red Planet. “Without water, no form of life as we know it could exist,” said Anja Diez of the Norwegian Polar Institute. Astronomers used radar data from the orbiting European spacecraft Mars Express to find the water. They spent at least two years checking over the data to make sure they had detected water and not ice or another substance.“I really have no other explanation,” said study lead author Roberto Orosei of Italy’s National Institute of Astrophysics in Bologna. “This is just one small study area; it is an exciting prospect to think there could be more of these underground pockets of water elsewhere, yet to be discovered.”More: Mars makes closest approach to Earth in 15 years this weekend.Although evidence of water was obvious on the planet’s surface in the form of vast dried-out river valley networks from eons ago, Mars’ climate does not allow for water on the surface today.The discovery could offer fresh clues about how Earth’s neighbor so profoundly transformed billions of years ago from a warmer, wetter world to its freeze-dried state today, according to Scientific American. Cassie Stuurman, a geophysicist at the University of Texas, said that “if these researchers are right, this is the first time we’ve found evidence of a large water body on Mars.”he area is similar to that of lakes found beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets on Earth, which also were detected using radar scans.”This thrilling discovery is a highlight for planetary science and will contribute to our understanding of the evolution of Mars, the history of water on our neighbor planet and its habitability,” said Dmitri Titov of the European Space Agency.The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science.