Earthquakes detected by NASA’s space probe, InSight, have helped scientists decipher the red planet’s anatomy, estimate the size of its liquid metal core, the nature of its mantle, and the thickness of its crust.
The robotic geological probe InSight arrived at the Red Planet in 2018 with the aim of examining its structure. He recorded a total of seven hundred times the vibration of Mars with his instrument, with which scientists worked. The waves generated by the vibrations vary in speed and shape depending on the materials they pass inside the planet.
Mars seismometer (The small domed structure in the attached photo below) They recorded a volume of data from thirty-five earthquakes that allowed them to take a picture of the planet’s internal structure. This is the first time that the layers of another planet in the solar system have been explored. Scientists had a hard time because the probe was equipped with only one seismometer, and it was no bigger than a magnitude 4 earthquake on Mars.
Vibrations suitable for recording a successful amount of data were also between 3 and 4 intensities.
“The great significance of the discoveries is that for the first time we have been able to make real measurements of the dimensions and dimensions of the building blocks of Mars. Bruce Banerdt, Senior Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA’s Planetary Research Institute, said about the discovery that, so far, we have only had comparisons with Earth, And theoretical calculations and indirect conclusions from other observations.
Compared to Earth, Mars has a thicker crust, a thinner mantle, and a larger but less dense and more liquid core than would be expected.
The core of Mars, the deepest geological layer, has been measured to be larger than previously thought, with a diameter of about 3,661 kilometers. Accordingly, the core, which consists mostly of iron and nickel, is less dense and contains a surprisingly high content of lighter elements such as sulfur, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. According to NASA, the size and state of Mars’ core indicate that the Red Planet formed millions of years before Earth, at an age when the Sun was not fully formed.
The mantle of Mars extends between the crust and the core for a distance of about 1,561 kilometers below the surface, and its composition is also different from that of the Earth, and it is thinner than that of the Earth. From this it can be concluded that the fourth planet from the Sun was formed from materials other than the Earth. According to the research, this may also be the reason why plate-like tectonic plates do not develop on Mars.
The crust of Mars, the outermost layer, is very old, and it is also very different geologically from planet Earth. The crust of our planet is cut into huge plates that move on the mantle, the rocky inner layer, this process is plate tectonics. In turn, the crust of Mars can be divided into up to three sublayers, depending on its thickness.
“Since active tectonic plates do not exist on Mars, they do not resemble Earth. It also means that the crust of Mars is very old,” said seismologist Brigitte Knappmayer-Andron of the University of Cologne in a scientific journal on the internal structure of Mars published in the scientific journal Science. study Lead author.
The average crust of Mars is between 24 and 72 km, with the thinnest being the Yezidis influence basin and the thickest being the Tharsis basin. The difference between the two thicknesses is about a hundred kilometers.
Bannerdt said the new knowledge will help researchers test their current theories about the formation of Mars.
(Cover image: NASA’s Insight Marsh probe. Image: NASA)