We got our best ever look inside Mars


NASA’s InSight robotic lander has given us our first look deep into a planet other than Earth.

More than two years after its launch, the seismic data InSight has collected has given researchers clues to how Mars formed, evolved over 4.6 billion years, and differed from Earth. A set of three recent studies published in scienceto This week shows that Mars has a thicker crust than expected and a larger molten liquid core than we thought.

In the early days of the solar system, Mars and Earth were very similar, each with an oceanic cover covering the surface. But over the next 4 billion years, as Earth became temperate and perfect for life, Mars lost its atmosphere and water, becoming the wasteland we know today. Learning more about how Mars is inside could help us understand why the two planets had such different destinies.

“Increasingly [a] “The cartoony understanding of what the inside of Mars looks like, putting real numbers on it,” he said. Mark Scroll“We can really expand the family tree to understand how these rocky planets formed and how they are alike and how they differ,” the project scientist for the InSight mission said during a NASA press conference.

Since InSight landed on Mars in 2018, its seismometer on the planet’s surface has recorded more than a thousand different earthquakes. Most are so small that they will not be noticed by someone standing on the Martian surface. But few were big enough to help the team get the first real glimpse of what was going on underneath.


Martian earthquakes create seismic waves that the seismometer detects. The researchers created a 3D map of Mars using data from two different types of seismic waves: shear and pressure waves. Shear waves, which can only pass through solids, are reflected from the planet’s surface.

Pressure waves are faster and can pass through solids, liquids and gases. Measuring the differences between when these waves came in allowed the researchers to pinpoint the earthquakes’ location and gave clues to the composition of the interior.

a team led by Simon St.AhsA seismologist at ETH Zurich, he used data produced by 11 major earthquakes to study the planet’s core. From the way seismic waves are reflected from the core, they conclude that they are made of liquid nickel-iron and are much larger (2,230 to 2320 miles wide) and possibly less intense than previously thought.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *