Mars’s Winds Reveal What’s in Its Basement

The InSight mission was sent to Mars in 2018 with a very specific purpose: to probe the interior of the Red Planet. And as surprising as it may sound, it involves, among other things, an analysis of the vibrations induced by the wind. The researchers are now giving us a detailed map of the Martian subsoil based on these data.

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[EN VIDÉO] Mars Insight: a geophysicist on Mars
Launched in May 2018 and installed on Mars in November, the InSight lander should explore the lesser-known atmosphere of the Red Planet: its subsurface, down to its core. Thanks to sophisticated equipment including a seismometer and a five-meter drill, he has enough to help us better understand our tiny neighbor.

mars, red planet, This baffles the researchers. It makes amateurs dream. And a large number of scientific missions have gone out to meet him in recent years. They flew over it. has established itself in orbit around it. Or have landed on it. amount of information about return to earthClimate Or the surface of Mars. But, he mission insight, which landed towardsElysium Planitiavolcano areaEquator Planet Ka is the first to take a specific interest in its sub-land.

thank you for that seismometer On-board, SIS instrument for Seismic Experiments for Interior StructuresInSight has already given scientists an idea of ​​the size and composition of the Red Planet’s core. but also because of its nature Coat and its thickness crust, Today, Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (Switzerland) show how, by detecting the echo of wind sounds on layers of soil and rocks, they are able to specify what the first two hundred meters of the Martian crust are made of.

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The technology he used was developed for quite mundane purposes. To study underground structures of areas prone to seismic activity. on our good old blue Planet, in fact, the ocean, but also ventsKeep rocking the ground. And those weak shocks that seismologist Can measure thanks to its most sensitive instruments that make impressions like running in the basement.

amazing detail

On Mars, no oceans. Very weak atmosphere. Then with a light breeze. and a single measuring station, mission insight, Yet the lander record has revealed some surprising details of the Martian subsoil, including a oath A meter near the surface and a few tens of meters deep.

30 to 40 m from the mapping established by the researchers. reveals an unexpected layer of sediment, Their origin is yet to be determined. It is surrounded by thick deposits of crust Make Got stuck. All are covered with a layer of about three meters regolith Sandy and suggest . the story ofElysium Planitia could have been more disturbing than astronomers Didn’t think till then.

Already, thanks to previous studies on nearby craters, researchers have determined that lava layers last from about 1.7 billion years – in the middle of a cool, cold and dry period on Mars – and over 3.6 billion’ years. strong during the period volcanic activity, Above the smallest lava layer, just below the surface regolith, there is also a layer of rock about 15 meters thick. It was probably lifted from the surface of Mars by a meteorite impact.

Now, the researchers hope they can apply their technique to explore Mars’ subsoil more deeply. Up to the first kilometer of the Martian crust.

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