Mars InSight: mission unveils surprising secrets of red planet's interior – new research
We may have walked on the Moon and sent probes across the solar system, but we know very little about what’s going on inside other planets. Now, for the first time, we have been able to view the interior of one, thanks to Nasa’s Mars InSight probe. The probe, which landed in 2018, is equipped with a solar-powered lander bristling with equipment, including a seismometer (a very sensitive vibration detector).
The results, published in three studies in Science, throw up some unexpected findings about Mars’s interior, including a very large core.
Though Mars has no tectonic plates, the first “marsquakes” were detected within months of the probe landing. These may result from vibrations caused by meteorites hitting the surface or from processes inside the planet.
It is difficult to detect quakes on Mars, partly because the seismometer is subject to the extremes of Martian weather, with seasonally changing windy periods obscuring the data. The signals used to probe the Martian interior all come from relatively small quakes, the best among the hundreds detected so far.
Planets grow by accumulating material …
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