– Study reveals a seismic event caused by a meteorite impact has provided crucial information about Mars’ internal composition and structure.
– Findings published in two papers in the journal Nature shed new light on the size of Mars’ core and its formation history.
1. Unveiling Mars’ Core and Mantle Composition
– Researchers used seismic energy data collected by NASA’s InSight mission to analyze the impact and study the planet’s interior.
– Previous observations suggested a larger liquid metal core with substantial amounts of light chemical elements.
– Meteorite impact allowed the seismic energy waves to travel through Mars, revealing a molten rock layer enveloping the core.
– The molten layer was found to be the previously assumed boundary between the liquid core and solid mantle.
2. Confirmation of a Smaller Martian Core
– The revised core size indicates that it is smaller than previously estimated, with a radius of only 1,650 kilometers.
– This finding aligns better with laboratory and theoretical estimates, suggesting a lower concentration of light elements within the core.
– Resolving the puzzle of the Martian core’s composition provides important insights into the planet’s formation and evolution.
3. Significance of the Liquid-Liquid Layering
– The presence of a molten-rock layer adjacent to the molten iron core is a unique characteristic not observed on Earth.
– The second paper published in Nature confirms the existence of a molten-rock layer, estimating the core’s radius at 1,675 kilometers.
– This liquid-liquid layering is speculated to be a remnant of a previous magma ocean that once covered Mars.
4. Implications of the Revised Core Structure
– Understanding the internal structure of Mars helps explain its response to gravitational forces exerted by its moon, Phobos.
– The revised core size and the presence of a second liquid layer strongly support existing evidence of the planet’s deformation.
– The presence of a molten-rock layer may contribute to the heat released by the radioactive elements present in the mantle.
– The analysis of seismic waves generated by a meteorite impact on Mars has provided groundbreaking insights into the planet’s interior structure.
– The discovery of a molten-rock layer enveloping the core and a smaller core size has reshaped scientists’ understanding of Mars’ composition.
– These findings have implications for our understanding of planet formation, as well as future missions to Mars.