This formation on Mars is the culmination of two years of research (decades of planning). NASA’s Insight Landing Gear is a stationary robot deployed to Mars with the sole purpose of exploring the invisible inner layers of the Red Planet. About a month after landing on the flat plateau of Elysium Planetia, Insight placed a small seismometer with a robotic hand on the surface near Mars and heard the earthquakes of a planet similar to Earth’s.
“Unlike Earth, Mars has no tectonic plates – its crust is like a giant plate,” NASA researchers wrote in a statement.
However, cracks or rock fissures still form on the crust of Mars. These fractures can cause seismic vibrations, which have been found in Insight for the past two years.
The resemblance to the earth is small
The team found that like Earth, the interior of Mars had three layers: the crust, mantle, and nucleus, but the size and structure of these layers differed greatly between the two worlds. For example, the crust of Mars is much thinner than researchers expected, with depths ranging from 20 to 37 kilometers. It consists of two or three sublayers (for comparison, according to USGS data, the Earth’s crust extends to a maximum depth of 100 km).
Below the crust is a mantle up to 1560 km long. Below the surface of Mars, beneath it, lies a giant nucleus that begins about halfway between the surface and the center of the planet. The core was larger and more fluid than the researchers expected.
Scientists still do not know if Mars has a solid internal nucleus like Earth, but researchers say a few years of research to measure the planet’s outer nucleus is a great achievement.
“It took scientists hundreds of years to measure the Earth’s nucleus,” said Simon Stohler, a professor of earth sciences at ETH at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. “It took 40 years for the Apollo missions to measure the lunar nucleus. It took just two years to measure the core of Mars,” he told LiveScience.
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