Thursday, January 28, 2021

Researchers may have ideas on how Mars formed

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A lander on Mars may have picked up clues to the formation of the Red Planet billions of years ago. Science Mag, researchers studying NASA’s InSight spacecraft, which landed on the surface of Mars two years ago, were finally able to detect clues of limits in the rock, tens and hundreds of kilometers below the crust of the planet, which they say is surprisingly thin. The team also found that the mantle temperature was cooler than expected despite the planet’s molten iron core.

These new findings on the interior of Mars led the team to believe that the planet was once cooling thanks to a kind of plate tectonics, following a pattern of “mantle rock and subductor crust rising” that allowed Mars to efficiently release heat. A scientist, who was not involved in the mission, said the findings may present evidence of “much more dynamic crustal formation in the early days of Mars.”Since NASA’s InSight spacecraft landed on Mars, seismometers have been working around the clock to measure and record details of earthquakes to gather more information about the internal composition and structure of the planet. Unfortunately, there was no earthquake with a magnitude greater than 4.5, which means the seismic waves did not travel as deep below the surface as the researchers would like.

However, two moderate earthquakes, of magnitude 3.7 and 3.3, were described as “treasures” for the mission. Science Mag notes that the waves from these earthquakes made their way towards the NASA lander, which recorded the travel times. The offsets alluded to “the thickness of the crust” and suggested “distinct layers within it,” according to Brigitte Knapmeyer-Endrun, a seismologist at the University of Cologne.

InSight data revealed that Mars could be made up of two or three layers, with the planet’s crust appearing thinner than Earth’s continental crust. The researchers calculated that the outermost shell of the Red Planet was only 20 or 37 kilometers thick, with a shallow layer below indicating a cooler mantle, enveloping a liquid core around 1,800 kilometers in radius. (more than half of the total diameter of the planet).

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Over the next few months, the InSight team, led by Bruce Banerdt, principal investigator and geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will continue their geological study of the Red Planet with the goal of recording more precise measurements from detections. events and get an even clearer picture. of the multilayer interior of Mars.

For other exciting space discoveries and developments, find out how NASA’s Mars rover carried 10.9 million names on the Red Planet for a campaign, discover the astronomers who discovered a new method to detect potentially habitable planets, and discover all the details on the mini moon orbiting the earth earlier this year.

Adele Ankers is a freelance entertainment journalist. You can reach her on Twitter.



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