Insight work ends next year, with its solar cells no longer able to produce energy, but in the meantime, revealing the inner secrets of Mars.
For the first time, scientists have been able to determine the internal structure of Mars using seismic data collected. Study “Intelligence” Of NASA (Insight). These data helped to highlight significant differences in the properties of the inner layers between the red planet and Earth.
وبحسب News release According to NASA, the analysis of Insight data shows that Mars has a thicker armor than expected and a larger melting center than we thought.
Researchers from the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and the University of Cologne, Germany, participated in the findings. 3 Documents Science Topped the latest issue of the science journal “Science”.
After the formation of the solar system, Mars and Earth became very similar, each with a sea blanket covering the surface. But over the next 4 billion years, the Earth became temperate and habitable, while Mars lost its atmosphere and water and dried up as we know it today.
To find out why the fates of the two planets differ, scientists are trying to learn more about the inner makeup of Mars. The Insight study, which landed on Mars in 2018, is one of the most important scientific missions seeking to achieve this goal by exploring the planet’s seismic activity.
Seismic measurements of the planet’s surface have recorded more than a thousand earthquakes, most of which are so small that they cannot be observed by anyone standing on the surface of Mars. But a few were enough to help the team get the first real view of what was going on beneath the planet’s surface.
Using data from two different types of seismic waves – cutting waves and pressure waves – the researchers created a 3-D map of Mars.
Cut-off waves pass only through solid objects and when they reach the surface they reflect towards the interior of the planet, while pressure waves penetrate solid objects, liquids and gases very quickly. Measuring the differences in transport times of the two waves of the inner layers of Mars has allowed researchers to point out the locations of earthquakes and provide clues about its internal formation.
Thin crust and thick scarf
According to News release Researchers at the Zurich Institute of Technology have found that the crust of Mars is 15 to 47 kilometers thick below the study landing site near the equator. The results showed that this thin crust contained a relatively high proportion of radioactive elements, which called into question previous models of the chemical composition of the entire crust.
At the bottom of the crust is the Martian mantle, a very solid rock mantle twice as deep as the Earth’s mantle at a depth of 400 to 600 kilometers. It may be – according to researchers – unlike Earth, Mars has only one continental shelf, consisting of 7 large and moving plates.
Measurements also showed that the Martian shield was mineralized similarly to the Earth’s surface, but the seismicity revealed differences in chemical composition. For example, the mantle of Mars contains more iron than the mantle of Earth.
Liquid pulp and larger than expected
Analysis of the seismic data recorded by Insight shows that the radius of Mars is about 1,840 km, which is 200 km longer than previously thought by scientists.
Due to the small size of Mars compared to Earth, the massiveness of its center indicates that its density is less than the center of the Earth, and it must contain most of the lighter elements in addition to iron and nickel. These include sulfur, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, in larger quantities than previously expected by scientists.
The researchers concluded that the composition of the Red Planet is not yet fully understood. However, iron studies confirm that the center is liquid, although Mars no longer has a magnetic field.
Insight work is expected to be completed next year, as its solar cells will not be able to produce much energy as dust accumulates in them, but in the meantime, researchers say, could reveal the inner secrets of Mars.