According to CNN, when earthquakes occurred on Mars and a meteorite hit the Red Planet in the last four years, NASA’s InSight probe collected sound waves in such a way as to reveal internal secrets of Mars helped.
During these events, InSight detected seismic waves passing through the Martian core for the first time. Now, scientists have used data from the lander to determine that Mars has a core of liquid iron alloy containing lightweight elements such as sulfur and oxygen, as well as smaller amounts of hydrogen and carbon.
Developing a better understanding of Mars’ interior could help scientists learn more about how rocky planets like Earth and Mars formed, how the two planets differ, and what factors make other planets habitable for life.
“In 1906, scientists first discovered the Earth’s core by observing how seismic waves from an earthquake were affected when they passed through it,” Vedran Lekic, an associate professor of geology at the University of Maryland, said in a statement. More than a hundred years later, we are applying our knowledge of seismic waves to Mars. With InSight, we are finally discovering what lies at the center of Mars and what makes Mars so similar to, yet so different from, Earth.
The researchers looked at how long the seismic waves created by a Martian earthquake, as well as a meteor impact in the Martian core, take to estimate the density and chemical composition of the core.
This NASA probe studied the interior of Mars for four years. A study detailing these findings was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.