Over the past several decades, we’ve continued to learn more and more about the Martian world. Curiosity, Perseverance and other rovers help us to learn about ancient riverbeds on Mars and whether life existed there in the past .. And now, data captured by NASA’s now-retired InSight lander could teach us more about the core of Mars.
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Previously, it was believed that Mars’s core could be a large object that isn’t very dense. This data was collected by InSight’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure. However, new research into some of InSight’s data suggests that the object believed to make up Mars’s core is actually just a thick, molten rock layer surrounding a much smaller inner core made of molten iron.
To fully understand how we ended up here, we have to look at previous theories that Mars was once covered in a massive ocean of magma, which eventually formed into a heterogeneous mantle of iron, silicates, and radioactive elements. All of which went on to produce heat. InSight considered the seismic data, but did not consider how volatile these elements are and their ability to evaporate when heated.
That means that much of that lighter material should have been lost from the magma ocean due to heat. So, how did the core of Mars end up so light? That’s a question that scientists can’t quite answer just yet. The new data and research from InSight suggest the core could be smaller and more dense than the thick layer of molten rocks that InSight detected.
Virtually dissecting the planet will no doubt help us better understand the evolution of rocky planets like Mars and Earth. It could even help us better understand how Mars lost its magnetic field four billion years ago, something scientists have been itching to figure out.
The post Mars is hiding a core of molten iron, new study suggests appeared first on BGR.