NASA’s Insight seismometer has for the first time revealed details about the depth of the interior of Mars. Before InSight landed on Mars in 2018, NASA’s exploration of the Red Planet with a rover and orbiter focused primarily on its surface. But three research papers based on InSight seismometer data provided hard-to-anticipate details about the depth and composition of Mars ’crust, mantle, and core.
In the study, scientists confirmed that the core of Mars with a radius of 1,830 kilometers is melted. InSight data will continue to be used to determine if the inner core is both solid and terrestrial. The crust was thinner than expected and scientists believe it may contain two or even three layers. The depth of the crust can be up to 20 kilometers with two sublayers and 23 kilometers if there are three layers.
“This study is a unique opportunity,” said Simon Stähler, lead author of the paper. “It took scientists hundreds of years to measure the Earth’s core; After the Apollo missions, it took 40 years to measure the moon’s core. It took InSight only two years to measure the core of Mars. “
The InSight seismometer recorded more than 700 earthquakes, many of which are between 3.0 and 4.0 degrees, supporting the idea that the site is seismically active. While Mars, unlike Earth, has no plate tectonics, it has volcanically active areas that can shake the surface.
“We’d still like to see the bigger picture,” said Mark Banning of JPL, co-author of the article on the crust. “We have to get a lot of careful processing out of this data, which is what we want. A bigger event will make it all easier. “