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Roberto Orosei  

Radar Scientist, Discovered Water on Mars

Robert Orosei, a radar scientist at the University of Bologna, specializes in “remote sensing”—using radar to analyze the geology of distant planets, asteroids, and other objects in space. As lead investigator on a team of Italian scientists studying data collected from the MARIS radar unit aboard the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter, he oversaw an exhaustive effort that found the first substantial evidence of liquid water beneath the Martian surface, in a 12-mile-wide lake, roughly a mile below the planet’s southern polar cap. His team published their results in Science in August 2018. Definitively proving the findings will require drilling into the planet’s surface, something not likely to happen for at least decade. Until then, Orosei looks forward to using radar to probe Jupiter’s moon Europa, which is suspected of harboring an ocean beneath its crust and will be within range of European and U.S. radar probes within the next few years.

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