tech news

‘Marsquakes’ reveal Red Planet’s interior structure for the first time


Nasa’s InSight mission has revealed the interior structure of Mars, as shown in this artist’s impression (Credit: IPGP/David Ducros)

Scientists have used ‘Marsquakes’ to unlock the secrets of the Red Planet’s interior for the first time.

Seismic readings from Nasa’s InSight mission allowed the international team to estimate the size of the planet’s core, the thickness of its crust and the structure of its mantle.

And this isn’t just a first for Mars. It’s the first time scientists have mapped the interior layers of any rocky planet besides Earth.

Down here, scientists use measurements from seismometers around the planet to track the tremors that bounce and change as they pass through the different materials that make up our planet’s internal structure.

With just one seismometer onboard the InSight craft, which landed on Mars in late 2018, the team had to come up with new techniques to map its interior.

They searched through seismic records for the typical features of seismic waves that had interacted with the planet’s internal structure.

Coupled with mineralogical and thermal modeling of the planet’s internal structure, they were able to overcome the limitations of having just one seismometer.

Little was previously known about Mars’ interior (Credit: NASA/Handout via Reuters)

The measurements provided rich detail about the layers that make up the planet.

Scientists previously had a poor understanding of the its interior, as they only had data from orbiting satellites and from Martian meteorites that had fallen to Earth.

Researchers had believed the planet’s crust was between 30 and 100 km thick and that its core had a radius of 1,400 to 2,000 km.

The InSight mission has revealed the crust is far thinner than expected at just 20 to 37 km, depending on how many sublayers are present.

Nasa’s InSight spaceship detects tremors on Mars (Credits: Reuters/Mike Blake/File Photo)

Its mantle, which lies beneath the crust, extends 1,560 km below the surface. And its molten core has a radius of approximately 1,830 km.

Scientists say this is just the beginning of their research into Mars’ interior structure. They’re on the look out for stronger quakes that could help them refine their model more easily.

‘Marsquakes’ tend to be far weaker than those on Earth, so the InSight craft is equipped with highly sensitive tools.

Mark Panning from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said: ‘We have to do lots of careful processing to pull the things we want from this data. Having a bigger event would make all of this easier.’

The new research was published Friday as three papers in the journal Science.


MORE : Nasa’s Perseverance rover begins its search for life on Mars


MORE : China’s space agency releases new images of the surface of Mars





READ SOURCE

See also  Remote Mongolian community are paying the ‘first price’ for climate change

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more