The Insight probe discovered that the Elysium Planitia plain north of the Martian equator has a magnetic field 10 times stronger than NASA's expected.
At the beginning of its exploration mission in November 2018, NASA used the Insight lander to study the seismic, geodetic, thermal and environmental changes of Mars. This mission is accomplished within two years. Just over a year and a half later, NASA published its first series of studies on the surface of Mars. One of these studies published in the journal Nature Geoscatics shared some interesting findings about magnetic fields on Mars.
The research team said the Insight landing area has a magnetic field 10 times stronger than expected. The discovery, thanks to Insight's magnetic sensor, helps scientists solve important mysteries about Mars's formation and subsequent evolution. This shallow crater is located in the Elysium Planitia - a flat plain north of the Martian equator. NASA chose this area because it has a combination of flat top structure, low altitude and little crushed stone that allows Insight to probe deep inside Mars. Prior to this mission, estimates of the magnetic field of Mars came from satellites in orbit, averaging more than 150 km.
The magnetic sources were detected by sensors on the Mars Insight Lander.(Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech).
Catherine Johnson, professor of Earth, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia, is a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute (PSI), the lead author of the study. Large numbers from previous satellite missions are the strength of the magnetic field on small areas. The team placed the first magnetic sensors on the surface to gain new clues about the internal structure and atmosphere on Mars. The Insight has recorded a magnetic field 10 times stronger than previously predicted by NASA. Measuring the magnetic field will help to understand the nature and strength of magnetic fields that have been billions of years for Mars.
In the past, predictions of the Martian magnetic field stemmed from the presence of rocks on the planet's surface, resulting in a local and relatively weak magnetic field. According to data collected by MAVEN and other missions, scientists predict that about 4.2 billion years ago, this magnetic field suddenly disappeared. This has led to the solar wind gradually taking away the Martian atmosphere over the next few hundred million years, making the Martian surface as arid today. Most of the rocks on the surface of Mars are too young to be exposed to magnetic fields in advance, so the team thinks it must come from deeper underground.
Johnson explained: "We think it came from much older rocks, buried anywhere from a few hundred meters to 10 km below the ground. It would be difficult to deduce this without magnetic data. and geological information provided by Insight . " By combining the Insight data with the magnetic study information of past Martian orbits, Johnson and his colleagues hope to be able to determine exactly which rocks are magnetized and their ages. These efforts will be supported by future missions to study Martian rocks, such as NASA's Mars 2020 autonomous vehicle, Rosalind Franklin of ESA and the Huoxing-1 mission (HX-1). ) of China.
Simulate the interaction between the solar wind, Mars (left) and Earth (right).(Photo: NASA).
Insight's magnetometer is also capable of collecting data about phenomena that exist in the Martian atmosphere as well as the space around the planet. Like Earth, Mars is exposed to the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun and bringing its magnetic field into the interplanetary space of the IMF. But because Mars lacks a magnetosphere, it is less protected from weather events and solar winds that allow landers to study the effects of both on the planet's surface, something that scientists previously it is impossible to do.
Another interesting finding is that the way the Martian magnetic field oscillates between day and night, short pulses will occur around midnight and last for just a few minutes. Scientists hypothesize that these changes are due to the interaction between the solar radiation, the IMF and particles in the upper atmosphere creating electric and magnetic currents.
In the future, the Insight team hopes that their efforts to collect data on surface magnetic fields will coincide with the trajectories MAVEN traverses, which will allow them to compare and collate data. The changing magnetic fields over time will be very useful for research on the conductive structure of Mars, related to its internal temperature. In addition, it is interesting that X-band radio measurements will show how "rocking" Mars is as it rotates on axis will help reveal the true nature of the planet's core.