The scientists simply “looked” into Mars. Here is what they found
Researchers have found that the density of the nucleus is surprisingly low, just 6 grams per cubic centimeter, which is much lower than what was expected from an iron-rich center. “It’s still a mystery how the core is so clear,” Stähler says. There should be lighter elements, although it is not clear exactly what it could be. Eventually, he and his team hope to detect the P waves generated directly from the planet Earth directly from where the InSight is parked. As they cross the boundary of the nucleus mantle, they will carry information about the composition of the nucleus to the receiver of the lander. But for that to happen, Stähler says, “Mars has to play and give us this earthquake on the other side of the planet.”
In the role of the Stähler group, they report a radius of 1,830 kilometers. Another team led by geophysicist EIR Zürich has found that its size is so large that it leaves little room for an Earth-like lower mantle, a layer that acts as a blanket to trap heat around the core. The mantle of the earth is divided into two parts, the so-called transition zone intermediate; the upper and lower levels are composed of different minerals. “The mantle of Mars is a slightly simpler version of the Earth’s mantle, I can say flipped, in terms of mineralogy,” says Khan, the lead author of the paper describing the mantle.
Using geochemical and geophysical data, previous calculations of the core radius indicated that there was no lower mantle, but scientists needed seismological readings from InSight to confirm this. Without this layer, surely the core of Mars would have cooled much more easily than that of Earth. This is crucial to understanding the evolution of the Red Planet, and especially why it lost its magnetic field, the barrier that would protect the atmosphere — and potential life — from the harsh solar winds. The creation of a magnetic field requires a temperature gradient between the outer and inner core, high enough to mix liquid in the core and create circulating currents that generate a magnetic field. But because the core cooled so quickly, these convection currents disappeared.
Khan’s analysis also shows that Mars has a thick lithosphere, a rigid, cold part of the mantle. This could be because the Red Plan lacks the tectonic plate that drives the rage of volcanism on Earth. “If you have a very thick lithosphere, it’s going to be very difficult to break this thing down and create an exact equivalent of the tectonics of the Earth’s plates,” Khan says. “Maybe Mars was very early, but it’s definitely closed.”
While InSight hides the inner vibrations of Mars, Perseverance has wandered around the dusty surface looking for clues to ancient life in the rocks, looking for places to collect regular samples, and learning about Jezero’s geological history. “Exploration is not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” said Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA’s association of science administrators. He opened a press conference on Wednesday, highlighting the vehicle’s first advances. the first months in his new home. “Sustainability is a step in a long legacy of carefully planned Mars explorations that link the exploration of the robot and the humans of the future.”
Scientists at the press conference explained what Perseverance has done on its journey so far. “The challenge is to know exactly where we want to go and how we can fit everything into our schedule,” said Vivian Sun, a system engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Sun said they decided to divert Perseverance about 3,000 meters south of the landing site to extract its first stone samples, which will be stored in the vehicle’s belly and later stored on the planet’s surface for a future return mission to Earth. .