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NASA probe "Insight": Mars has a larger core and thinner crust than expected

NASA probe “Insight”: Mars has a larger core and thinner crust than expected

Except for his piano, viz Earth Really a pretty dust-free place, Bruce Bonard said recently. On top of that Tuesday If it’s different, the dirt there is definitely one of our biggest challenges. Geologist Bonert is responsible for the scientific publication of the Insight of Mars study at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Experts are currently facing the most annoying problem: in solar panels Of the robot that landed in November 2018 Wind and electrical gravity have caused large dust deposits. About 80 percent of the area is already this way, And so on Bonert. Current yields have been declining rapidly recently. In the worst case Must be an American space company NASA So announce the end of the mission in April.

Insight first works longer than originally planned. This study has already been able to gather important data about the internal structure of the Red Planet. In Three Personal Article The teams involved now present the knowledge gained from this in a special journal called “Science”. The most important message: The structure of the red planet is very similar to our Earth, but it has a larger core and thinner crust than previously thought.

This research is based on an estimate of more than two years of seismic data from the seismometer built at Insight on in France. This is next – Overall unhappy – The Mars Mole for measuring the heat distribution on Earth, for which the German Space Center (DLR) is responsible, is one of the two main instruments of the study. Very sensitive seismometer The tremor was heard underground on Mars. Scientists relied on hearing the impact of meteorites. However, so far it has undoubtedly not worked.

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Interestingly, seismic measurements can only be well measured when the Martian weather is right. “Half of the day is very windy, and the seismometer can only detect very strong tremors,” says Simon Stoller from ETH Zurich in an interview with Spiegel. Otherwise the gases make confusing noises. Stoller is the primary author of one of the articles now published. More than 700 earthquakes are now on the researchers’ list and can now be used for estimates.

Built like a beach

“These three studies provide important information about the structure of Mars today, and are the key to a better understanding of how this planet formed millions of years ago and how it formed over time,” wrote San Cottre and Paula Colemijer from the University of Cambridge, UK. In a consideration with »In Science.

Our earth is made up of three layers: the very outer, that is, directly under our feet, the very thin crust of light, the brittle rock. It’s like the skin of a peach. Below is the Earth’s shield made of heavy, plastic decomposable rock. If you want to be in the picture of the beach, it refers to the pulp. The back is centered underneath. As for the earth, it is mostly composed of iron and nickel. The researchers considered a structure similar to that of Mars – now able to confirm this hypothesis in principle.

“We now have another strong indication that the core of Mars is actually liquid,” explains researcher Stoller. It is relatively large: “According to our measurements, the diameter of Mars is about 3,700 kilometers,” says Ana-Catalina Plaza, co-editor of the DLR Institute for Planetary Research in Berlin. “It’s half the center diameter of the Earth and is at the top of the size range shown by previous estimates.” Classify: At 6770 kilometers the diameter of Mars is half the diameter of Earth.

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At six grams per cubic centimeter, the Martian core has a significantly lower density than the center of our Earth, ranging from 9 to 13 grams per cubic centimeter. This means that inside our neighboring planet, in addition to iron and nickel, lighter elements such as sulfur, carbon, oxygen or hydrogen can form.

Large differences in crust thickness

Brigitte Knappmeier-Endrone of the University of Cologne’s Benzburg Earthquake Center said: “There are interesting new discoveries for the crust and crust of Mars. He is the first author of another study just published. 40 km Depending on the interpretation of the resulting seismic signals, however, it is clear that the crust will certainly be thinner than previously thought – and its magnitude will vary considerably depending on its position on Mars.

The shield of Mars, according to researchers, can be compared to the simplest version of the Earth’s mantle. The outer skin of the Red Planet is rich in olive minerals, much like the earth’s crust. Bridgestone, one of the most common minerals on our planet But no one knowsBecause it occurs further down the mantle, it should not play a major role on Mars.

For their further work, the teams hope that the intelligence will last as long as possible. At NASA, a seemingly contradictory maneuver was recently attempted to help. One can summarize it under the slogan “Cleaning with Dirt”.

Aerospace engineers used the “Insights” dock to extract robotic arm Mars sand near the landing site. Then they make it not too far from the dirty solar panels – at a time with as much wind as possible. In the process, some grains hit the solar panels, freeing them from the fine dust particles that had previously been placed there.

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Chief scientist Banert later cautiously explained that the maneuver had caused at least a “small increase” in electricity output. You have a small way you never had before. On the other hand, ETH Earth researcher Stoller says: “It brought us a few extra months and we will be back by the end of next year.”