December 6, 2023

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Its core is surrounded by a layer of molten rock

Its core is surrounded by a layer of molten rock

They discovered that its liquid core, composed mainly of iron, is surrounded by a smooth mantle of molten rock about 150 kilometers in diameter.

Measurements and analyzes that the robot will perform in 2021 Insight DrNASA, now retired, has provided scientists with a new map of the interior structure of Mars. According to two investigations published on Wednesday in the magazine nature, New data provides a new interpretation of the Red Planet’s interior, suggesting that its core is smaller and denser than previously thought.

Specifically, scientists say that Mars’ liquid iron core may have been surrounded by an entire layer of molten silicates (rock).

Last April, another happened investigation conducted with InSight data revealed this Mars’ core is completely liquid, unlike Earth’s core. Which combines a liquid outer core and a solid inner core. Moreover, they discovered that the core of Mars consists not only or practically only of iron, but also contains sulfur and oxygen, which are light elements, in addition to carbon and hydrogen.

However, these results indicate that the core contains a higher proportion of lighter elements than is possible based on estimates made about the abundance of these elements in the early stages of Mars’ formation history.

The teams, led by Amir Khan and Henry Samuel, respectively, examined the latest set of seismic signals and combined them with geophysical model simulations to obtain estimates of the size and composition of the Martian core. Both studies determined this Mars’ liquid iron core is surrounded by a layer of nearly molten silicate rock about 150 kilometers thick. Thick, the upper part of which was previously misinterpreted as the surface of the nucleus.

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What does this mean? This reduction in core radius means higher density than estimated in the previous InSight robot study. According to scientists, these estimates fit more easily with current knowledge about the abundance of chemicals on Mars, because they require fewer light alloy elements to produce a stable liquid core.

Previously, the diameter of the core was estimated at about 1,800 km, while it is now believed to be between 1,650 and 1,675 km.

Artistic recreation of the robot and its subsurface structure IPGP / Nicolas Sartre

In an article accompanying the two investigations in the same magazine: nature, Scientist Susan van der Lee of Northwestern University’s Department of Planetary Science describes these results as “The closest and most accurate estimates yet obtained of Mars’ mantle and core. He adds that these results “show that by combining seismic observations, knowledge about the formation and evolution of terrestrial planets, and data on the planet’s size, shape, rotation, and magnetic field, valuable information about the past and present of the planet can be obtained.” Mars and its future dynamics.

Unlike other robots that have explored Mars, such as Curiosity or Perseverance, InSight remained anchored to the surface. It reached Mars in 2018, and in 2019 it began measuring the pulse of this planet with its radars and other instruments, which enabled it to record for the first time. Martian earthquakesThey are called Martian earthquakes, and more than a thousand have been discovered. Using the SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) instrument he recorded seismic waves passing through the interior of the planet, something that could only be done on Earth and the Moon.

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Due to the large accumulation of dust, its solar panels stopped supplying it with energy, and the probe stopped working at the end of 2022.

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