MARSOTRES recorded by NASA’s robotic spacecraft InSight helped scientists discover the anatomy of Mars and now have knowledge of the size of the liquid metal core, the thickness of the crust and the mantle of the Red Planet.
This week’s discoveries have led to a better understanding of the internal structure of Mars and to some surprising findings.
Among other things, it has been confirmed that the center of that planet has melted.
More than 700 moderate earthquakes were recorded
NASA’s InSight spacecraft, which landed on the surface of Mars in 2018, recorded more than 700 moderate-magnitude earthquakes.
Seismic waves vary in speed and shape as they pass through different materials within planets, and InSight instruments were able to capture the outlines of the interior of Mars.
“For the first time, we have knowledge of the sizes of the basic structural elements of Mars,” said Bruce Banerdt, NASA’s geophysicist and head of the InSight mission.
New discoveries about the core of Mars
It has been discovered that the diameter of the core of Mars is about 3660 km, which means that it is larger and has a lower density than previously thought. It consists mainly of iron and nickel, and lighter elements, such as sulfur, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, occupy an unexpectedly large proportion.
The crust of Mars is quite different from Earth. The crust of our planet is divided into plates that can move over the inner layer (mantle). In some places under the ocean the crust is constantly renewed.
“There is no active plate tectonics on Mars and nothing similar is happening there. This means that the crust of Mars is very old ”, said seismologist Brigitte Knapmeyer-Endrun from the German University of Cologne.
The average global crust thickness was found to be between 24 and 72 kilometers.
The mantle of Mars, located between the crust and the core, extends approximately 1560 kilometers below the surface. Its composition is different from Earth’s, and these two planets were formed from different materials more than 4.5 billion years ago.
The diameter of Mars is about 6791 kilometers, and Earth’s is about 12,755 kilometers.
The new discoveries will make it possible to test theories about the formation of planets, Banerdt concluded.
“We will apply the knowledge not only to the exploration of Mars but also to all other planets in our solar system and beyond,” the scientist said.