Pleasant surprise: First view of NASA Insight lander into Mars reveals three layers of cake resembling the crust of the Red Planet
- Since April 2019, Lander’s seismic measurement has recorded more than 480 markwaves
- Differences in how seismic waves move help scientists estimate the size and composition of the surface
- They believe that the crust of Mars is about 23 miles thicker than Earth.
- Earthquake activity has almost ceased, with only four earthquakes since June
Data returned to Earth from NASA’s Insight lander suggests that Mars’ crust contains three cake-like layers.
Anchored near the equator of Mars, the robotic lander’s super-sensitive earthquake, known as SEIS, has recorded hundreds of ‘markwaves’ over the past two years.
Each earthquake emits two sets of seismic waves and analyzing the differences in how those waves move has led researchers to begin calculating the size and composition of the planet’s crust, mantle and center.
“We have enough data to start answering some of these big questions,” said Bruce Bonard, a Jet Propulsion laboratory scientist. Natural.
The Insight mission, launched in 2018, marks the first time scientists have reached a planet other than Earth.
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Analysis of primary and secondary waves caused by hundreds of markwaves, consisting of three ‘cake-like’ layers of the red planet’s crust
The crust of the earth is divided into three sub-layers of rock: metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary.
Scientists had similarly structured the crust of Mars, but until now, there is no data to work with.
According to the Nature report, Mars has only two layers, but the three-layer crust connects with the analysis of the Mars meteorite.
By comparing the primary and secondary waves of Marscake, they are crust averaging 23 miles thick and close to 42 times its thickness.
NASA’s Insight Lander landed on Mars in 2018, but had difficulty drilling beneath its ‘mole’ probe surface
Insight’s super-sensitive earthquake, also known as SEIS, recorded more than 480 markwaves. Exploring the primary and secondary waves from these earthquakes, the researchers believe that the crust of Mars is about 23 miles thick.
It is considerably thicker than Earth, with a crust that extends about 3 miles under the oceans and up to 18 miles below the continents.
Insight (short for in-house exploration using seismic investigations, geodesy and heat transport) arrived on Mars in November 2018.
Its so-called ‘mole’ is designed to dig below the surface to pick up the planet’s temperature – but unpredictable properties in Martian soil have made progress difficult.
Other equipment in the lander is fully functional, including, fortunately, seismometer measurement provided by the French space agency Center National D’Dot’s Spatials.
Since April 2019, SEIS has recorded more than 480 earthquakes. The tremor is relatively mild, nothing larger than a magnitude of 3.7.
‘It’s a little surprising that we didn’t see a big event,’ said Mark Bonning, a seismologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Baning says it is not yet clear whether Mars is more stable than Earth or whether Insight landed during a quiet interval.
These earthquakes have been daily for some time, but stopped abruptly at the end of June when the planet of this year entered its windy season.
The seismometer has a shield, but because the wind is so strong it shakes the floor and hides the proper tremor.
Researchers hope that more large earthquakes will occur, which will give more insight into the inner layers of the planet.
‘Sometimes you get a great light of surprising information, but most of the time you tease what nature has to say to you,’ Bonert said.
‘It’s more like trying to follow the path of cunning clues than the answers given to us in a neatly closed package.’
What are the three main instructions?
Lander that reveals how the Earth formed: The Mars Landing Insight Lander was set up on November 26.
Three key tools allow the Insight lander to ‘take the pulse’ of the red planet:
Seismic measurement: Insight Lander a Seismic measurement, SEIS, which hears the pulse of Mars.
The seismometer records the waves that travel through the inner structure of a planet.
Studying seismic waves suggests creating waves.
On Mars, scientists suspect the culprits are marquees or meteorites that hit the surface.
Thermal study: Insight’s heat flow study, HP3, blows deeper than any other scoops, drills or props on Mars.
It will explore how much more heat is coming out of Mars.
Radio antennas: Like Earth, Mars moves a little as it rotates on its axis.
To read this, two radio antennas, which are part of the RISE instrument, monitor the lander’s location very accurately.
It helps scientists test the planet’s reflexes and tells how the deep inner structure affects the planet’s motion around the sun.
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