Noise detected by NASA’s Insight probe may indicate an active volcanic planet

Scientists now know that things happen on Mars regularly, adding to mounting evidence that the Red Planet is far from dying.

New research has revealed previously undetected earthquakes beneath the surface of Mars, which experts believe may be evidence of this It houses a sea of ​​magma in its mantle.

They believe that the best explanation for “Mars earthquakes” is the persistence of volcanic activity beneath the dusty and barren surface of Mars, and they believe the planet is more volcanically active and seismic than originally thought.

Experts have long thought there wasn’t much going on inside Mars, but researchers at the Australian National University made their discovery after sifting through data from NASA’s Mars Insight probe.

New research has revealed previously undetected earthquakes beneath the surface of Mars, which experts believe is evidence that it contains a sea of ​​magma in its mantle. The image is an artistic rendering of the InSight lander, which has been “taking the heartbeat of Mars” since landing on the planet in 2018.

Using two unconventional methods recently applied in geophysics, experts have detected 47 new seismic events from an area on Mars called Cerberus Fossae (pictured)

Researchers at the Australian National University made their discovery after searching for data from NASA’s Mars Insight probe. Pictured is the Insight landing site and the waveforms from two Martian earthquakes

Was Mars home to liquid water?

Evidence for water on Mars dates back to the Mariner 9 mission, which arrived in 1971. It revealed evidence of water erosion in riverbeds and valleys, as well as weather fronts and fog.

The Vikings who followed revolutionized our ideas about water on Mars by showing how floods broke through dams and cut deep valleys.

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Mars is currently in the middle of the Ice Age, and prior to this study, scientists believed that liquid water could not exist on its surface.

In June 2013, Curiosity found strong evidence that water was drinkable once it flowed on Mars.

In September of the same year, the first shovel of soil analyzed by Curiosity revealed that the microelements on the planet’s surface contained 2 percent by weight of water.

In 2017, scientists gave their best estimates of water on Mars, claiming it contains more liquid H2O than the Arctic Ocean – and the planet has maintained these oceans for more than 1.5 billion years.

The results suggest there’s enough time and water for life to thrive on Mars, but over the past 3.7 billion years, the Red Planet has lost 87 percent of its water — leaving it barren and dry.

“Knowing that the mantle of Mars is still active is crucial to our understanding of how Mars evolved as a planet,” said geophysicist Hrvuje Takalic of the Australian National University in Australia.

It can help us answer fundamental questions about the Solar System, the state of the currently-unpossessed Martian magnetic field, its mantle, and its evolution.

Mars has a very small magnetic field, which indicates a lack of internal activity.

Planetary magnetic fields are typically generated within a planet by something called a dynamo – a rotating, convective, electrically conductive fluid that converts kinetic energy into magnetic energy and spins a magnetic field in space.

Earth’s magnetic field protects us from cosmic rays that can destroy life, but radiation levels on Mars are much higher, even though the planet is far from the sun.

“All life on Earth is possible because of the Earth’s magnetic field and its ability to protect us from cosmic rays, so without a magnetic field, life as we know it would not be possible,” Takali said.

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When NASA’s Insight probe arrived in November 2018 and “began to take the pulse of Mars” I discovered that the planet was rumbling.

Hundreds of earthquakes have been detected on Mars so far, but Tkalči and his colleague, geophysicist Weijia Sun of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, wanted to search for earthquakes that might not have been detected in the InSight data.

Using two unconventional techniques recently applied to geophysics, the duo detected 47 new seismic events from an area on Mars called Cerberus Fossae.

Most of them resemble the waveforms of the Cerberus Fossae earthquake that occurred in May and July 2019, indicating that smaller earthquakes are accompanied by larger ones.

While searching for the cause of the earthquakes, the researchers found that there was no pattern in their timing, ruling out the influence of the Martian moon Phobos.

“We’ve found that these earthquakes on Mars happen a lot at all times of the Martian day, while the Martian earthquakes that NASA has detected and reported in the past seem to have only occurred at night when the planet is quieter,” Tkalči said.

Since its arrival in November 2018, the InSight probe has worked on several missions orbiting Mars and roaming the planet’s surface: including the Curiosity rover

Therefore, we can assume that the movement of molten rock in the mantle of Mars is the cause of these 47 newly discovered earthquakes under the Cerberus Fosai region.

Previous research at Cerberus Fossae showed that the area has been volcanically active for the past 10 million years.

Tkalčić and Sun believe that if Mars is more volcanic and seismically active than originally thought, it will change the way scientists see its past, present, and future.

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Earthquakes on Mars indirectly help us understand whether convection occurs in the planet’s interior, and if such a convection occurs, and it appears that based on our results, there must be another mechanism at play that prevents the magnetic field from settling on Mars. Takali said.

Obviously, “Understanding the magnetic field of Mars, how it evolved, and at what point in the planet’s history it stopped is clearly important for future missions and is critical if scientists ever hope to see human life on Mars settle down.”

The search was published in Connecting with nature


The probe that can reveal how Earth formed: InSight lander will land on Mars on November 26

Three main instruments allow Insight to “take the heartbeat” of the Red Planet:

seismometer: Insight Landing Vehicle seismometerSEIS, which listens for the pulse of Mars.

A seismometer records waves that travel through the planet’s internal structure.

The study of seismic waves tells us what can cause waves.

Scientists on Mars believe the culprits may be earthquakes or meteors hitting the surface.

heat probe: The HP3 heat flow probe penetrates deeper than any shovel, drill or other probe on Mars before.

It will look at how much heat is still flowing from Mars.

Radio antennas: Mars swings slightly like Earth as it rotates on its axis.

To study this, two radio antennas, part of the RISE instrument, are closely tracking the probe’s location.

This helps scientists test the planet’s reactions and tell them how its deep internal structure affects the planet’s movement around the sun.

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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