NASA detects the first seismic waves inside the Martian core

(CNN) When earthquakes rocked Mars and A meteorite hit the red planet Over the past four years, NASA’s InSight probe has collected sound waves that have helped reveal the secrets of Mars’ interior.

During these events, InSight detected for the first time seismic waves traveling through the Martian core. Now, scientists have used the rover’s data to determine that Mars has a liquid iron alloy core that also includes lightweight elements such as Sulfur and oxygen, as well as smaller amounts of hydrogen and carbon.

greater development Understanding the interior of Mars can help scientists learn more about how rocky planets like Earth and Mars formed, how the two planets differ, and what factors help make other planets habitable.

Detailed study results were Published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“In 1906, scientists first discovered the Earth’s core by observing how seismic waves from earthquakes are affected by traveling through it,” study co-author Vedran Lekic, a professor of geology at the University of Maryland, College Park, said in a statement. “After more than a hundred years, we are applying our knowledge of seismic waves to Mars. With InSight, we are finally discovering what is at the center of Mars and what makes Mars so similar yet distinct from Earth.”

NASA’s Mars Insight probe has been studying the interior of Mars for four years.

The researchers analyzed how long seismic waves generated by a single wave lasted swamp In addition to meteor impact travel through the Martian core, allowing them to estimate the core’s density and chemical composition.

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Planetary cores provide evidence of evolution

Earth has a liquid outer core and a solid inner core, but Mars’ core appears to be made entirely of liquid. The Martian core is also much denser and smaller than scientists think, with a radius of about 1,106 to 1,125 miles (1,780 to 1,810 kilometers).

Study co-author Nicholas Schmeier, a professor of geology at the University of Maryland: College Park, said in a statement.

“The end result of formation and evolution processes can be either the generation or lack of conditions that sustain life. The uniqueness of the Earth’s core allows it to generate a magnetic field that protects us from the solar wind, allowing us to conserve water. Mars’ core does not generate this protective shield, so the conditions are The surface of the planet is hostile to life.

Mars currently lacks a magnetic field, but traces of magnetism linger in the Martian crust. The ruins lead scientists to believe that Mars likely once supported a habitable environment, but evolved over time into a frozen, uninhabitable desert.

“It’s like a puzzle in some ways,” Lekic said. “For example, there are small traces of hydrogen in the core of Mars. This means that there must be certain conditions that allow hydrogen to exist there, and we have to understand those conditions to understand how Mars evolved into the planet it is today.”

Initially, InSight, the first mission to study the interior of Mars, was supposed to last about two years. But NASA extended the mission for another two years.

“The extra mission time has certainly paid off,” lead study author Dr. Jessica Irving, senior lecturer in Earth sciences at the University of Bristol in the UK, said in a statement.

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“We made the first observations of seismic waves traveling through the Martian core. Two seismic signals, one from a quagmire very far away and the other from a meteorite impact on the far side of the planet, allowed us to probe Mars with seismic waves. We actively listened for the energy traveling through the core of the planet. post, and now we heard it.”

The InSight mission continued to collect data on Mars until the end, Silence in December 2022 After the dust prevented the solar panels from receiving the necessary sunlight. But the trove of data collected by the probe during its four years on Mars has changed the way scientists understand the Red Planet.

“InSight will continue to influence how we understand the formation and evolution of Mars and other planets for years to come,” Lekic said.

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