InSight grabbed a thermometer for Mars

InSight grabbed a thermometer for Mars

The NASA InSight Landing Tool carries with it a unique instrument capable of measuring heat emanating from the Red Planet. This will make it possible to understand how massive Martian mountains, eclipsing terrestrial Everest, could form

Dear climbers, forget about Everest and start planning the conquest of the Martian peaks! The red planet has some of the highest mountains in the entire solar system. Among them, Mount Olympus is a volcano that is almost three times as high as Everest. This formation is bordered by the province of Farsis, where there are three equally impressive volcanoes.

NASA and DLR (German Center for Aviation and Astronautics) plan to measure the temperature of the planet for the first time, calculating how heat leaves Mars and controls geology. Heat detection will be an important part of the InSight mission, which is managed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, California).

InSight is destined to be the first mission to explore the deep interior of Mars using the HP3 heat meter. This energy remains inside the planet, as it was partially captured more than 4 billion years ago. Also, energy is due to the decay of radioactive elements in a rocky environment. The way heat is transferred through the planet and the crust determines which surface features will form.

Put the “thermometer” under the bark

Scientists have managed to model the internal Martian structure, but InSight will provide the first opportunity to find the truth below the surface. HP3 will be placed on the surface after the device arrives on November 26, 2018. The probe is going to break through the earth, penetrate deep into and move the cable with sensors that determine the internal heat of the planet. This is a difficult task, because the wire must climb deep to avoid wide temperature fluctuations of the surface.

If the cable gets stuck higher than expected, it will still be possible to measure measurements. Of course, there will be more noise in the data, but daily and seasonal weather fluctuations can be subtracted by comparing with the measurement of the earth's temperature. In addition, the device will emit thermal pulses. Researchers will determine how quickly the device warms the surrounding rock, which will help calculate the conductivity of the rocks.

Recipe for a new planet

As an example of a planetary heat flux, imagine a pot of water on a stove. When the liquid is heated, it expands, becomes less dense and rises. The colder water sinks to the bottom, where it also heats up. This cycle of cold and hot states is called convection. The same thing happens inside the planet, where the breed rages for millions of years. Volcanoes show internal active processes. Most of the atmosphere in the rocky worlds is formed due to the fact that volcanoes force gas out of the depths. It is believed that some of the largest dry Martian channels appeared when Farsis volcanoes erupted gas into the atmosphere. Water vapor was stored in it, which cooled to a liquid and could create channels.

The smaller the planet, the faster it loses its original heat. Mars reaches only 1/3 of the Earth's parameters, so most of the heat was confused at the early stage of history. Also, the predominant amount of geological activity falls on the first billions of years. NASA provided a “macro” view of the planet, allowing you to study Martian geology from above. HP3 for the first time will help to look inside.

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