A new study has revealed fascinating insights into the innermost layer of Mars – its core. The Red Planet’s core is estimated to have a radius of approximately 1,780-1,810 kilometers, smaller and denser than previously thought. It is likely in a liquid state, according to the research published in the journal PNAS.
The InSight Mars Lander
In order to gain insight into the makeup and architecture of Mars, a team of international scientists scrutinized seismic information collected by NASA’s InSight Mars Lander, which was sent into orbit in May 2018. The lander put a seismometer and other geophysical equipment on the planet’s surface. Seismometers detect and measure seismic waves – shockwaves generated after an earthquake. As seismic waves pass through different materials, they behave differently, slowing down when they pass through liquid materials or hot regions.
Farside Seismic Events
The team looked for ‘farside’ seismic events that occur on the opposite side of the planet to InSight. The team of researchers identified two seismic occurrences, one resulting from a marsquake and the other caused by a significant impact. Afterward, they compared the duration seismic waves took to travel through the core in contrast to those that remained within the mantle. Through the use of computer models, the team made projections concerning the physical characteristics of the core, such as its dimensions.
Composition of Mars’ Core
The research found that light elements, sulfur, and oxygen, comprise a fifth of the core’s weight. Irwing explained that although both Earth and Mars are mostly made of iron, Mars’ core is less dense than Earth’s due to several factors, including the material that formed the planets.
Understanding Earth and Mar
By learning more about Mars’ physical properties today, data could inform better models of how Earth and Mars formed. It is theorized that Mars was once habitable before evolving into its current hostile state, with the planet’s interiors playing a key role in this evolution.
Earth’s Magnetic Field
The Earth’s magnetic field is generated in its outer liquid core, which allows it to protect us from solar winds, keeping water on our planet. In contrast, Mars’ surface environment is not conducive to life as the planet’s core does not produce this defensive barrier.
Tags: InSight • InSight Mission • Mars
Month: Current Affairs – April, 2023
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