NASA’s InSight consent arrived on Mars in 2018 to find out about its interior by tracking “marches,” and now the project is starting to really pay off. NASA announced that the researchers mapped the interior of the red planet and discovered some big surprises and big differences with the Earth.
The map is the first in the interior of another planet. Compared to Earth, Mars has a thicker crust, a thinner mantle layer, and a larger, less dense, and more fluid core than expected. This in turn suggests that Mars may have formed millions of years before our planet, when the sun alone was not yet fully formed.
“It gives us the first sample of the interior of another rocky planet like Earth, built of the same materials, but very, very different,” said University of Cambridge seismologist Sanne Cottaar (who was not involved in the project). Wall Street newspaper. “It’s impressive.”
Constructing a map based on the limited data provided by InSight was not an easy endeavor. The probe only recorded earthquakes from one location and has only one seismometer. And Mars – while it was seismically active – did not have earthquakes higher than about 4 on the Richter scale.
However, taking these data, together with the magnetism of the planet and the oscillation of the orbits, the scientists managed to make a detailed map. It has been determined that the inner core of the planet has a diameter of about 2,275 miles, larger than previously thought. Given the mass of the planet as a whole, this implies that the core of iron / nickel probably contains lighter elements such as sulfur, oxygen and carbon.
In the meantime, the bark has been found to be very old. It was also denser in the southern mountains of Mars and thinner in the northern lowlands, which may have long ago hosted the oceans. It is on average between 15 and 45 miles thick and is divided into several layers of volcanic rock.
The mantle between the crust and the core extends approximately 970 miles below the surface. It is thinner than the Earth and has a different composition, which suggests that the two planets formed from different materials when they formed. “This may be a simple explanation for why we don’t see plate tectonics on Mars,” said Amir Khan, a geophysicist and co-author of the ETH study in Zurich. New York Times.
The results gave scientists a new insight not only into the interior of Mars, but also how the rocks of the planet are formed in general. This will help them develop new theories about the creation of planets that could become especially valuable in the near future, when new instruments such as the James Webb Space Telescope will allow astronomers to scan exoplanets around the galaxy. NASA will reveal more about its findings in the live event later today.