Mission Insight, Sent by NASA to Mars in 2018, was able to measure the distance to the planet’s nucleus. This is the first time the distance of a planet has been measured beyond Earth. According to “nature”, the size of Mars’ nucleus was obtained by listening to seismic energy coming from the interior of the planet. The novelty is that the interior of Mars is larger than previously thought.
According to Insight data, the core of Mars ranges from 1,810 to 1,860 km, giving it about half the Earth’s total of 4,620 km (including the inner and outer nuclei). New information was presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Houston (USA) on Wednesday (18).
The new figure is larger than previous figures, which means that according to the publication, the nucleus of Mars will be denser than expected. Therefore, the nucleus must contain light elements such as oxygen, iron, and sulfur.
The data that led to NASA’s discovery are from early Insight discoveries about the layers of the Martian crust. Philip Lognon, a geophysicist at the Paris Earth Physics Institute and the leader of the seismometer team at Insight, said in a pre-recorded lecture this week.
Rocks such as Mars and Earth divide their formation by crust; Mantle, containing minerals and under great pressure; Core, more fluid outer layer, thicker inner layer.
According to the New Scientist website, the Insight Mission seismometer measures two types of seismic waves: those that fall close to the surface, travel in a relatively straight line between an earthquake and a spacecraft, and jump around the planet before reaching detectors. .
The instruments studied seismic waves that jumped from the boundary between the mantle and the nucleus, and the team was able to estimate the distance of the Martian core from 1,810 to 1,860, using the time difference and the direction the waves reach the sensors. Km.
The data also indicate that the upper mantle, which is 700 to 800 km long from the surface, contains an area of solid material where seismic energy moves more slowly.
With the discovery of Mars, researchers will be able to compare our similar data on Earth and better understand how the planets in the Solar System evolved.
So far, Insight Seismograph has detected about 500 earthquakes, which means that the planet is less seismic than Earth, but more active than the Moon. The planet also has a strong magnetic field similar to that of Earth, but over time it dwindled and escaped to Mars’ atmosphere, cooling the planet and reducing the risk to life.
The challenge now is to make the most of Insight’s resources, as dust from Mars’ soil covers its two – meter – wide solar panels, preventing equipment from conserving more energy.
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