ETH measures the pulse of Mars

A measuring device developed by ETH, brought to Mars thanks to the InSight mission, provides new insights into the Red Planet.

The basics in brief

  • With the InSight mission in 2018, three measuring instruments were brought to Mars.
  • Including the SEIS seismometer from ETH Zurich, which is now providing new information.
  • For example, the crust of the planet is thinner and more radioactive than is assumed.

Measured for 30 months ETH Zurich Mars Pulse: With the SEIS Seismometer – an acronym for the Seismic Experiment of the Inner Structure. earthquake assessmentdata It reveals entirely new insights into the inner workings and history of the Red Planet.

For example, the crust of Mars is supposedly thinner and contains an unexpectedly high content of radioactive elements. The mantle of Mars is similar to the mantle a landBut it contains a lot of iron. The core is larger than previously assumed. Its radius is about 1,840 km, which is 200 km more than was assumed 15 years ago.

These and other results were obtained from of recording and analysis of seismic waves. From the method of their propagation, it was possible to calculate how thick and dense the layers of matter hitting the waves.

Brought to Mars with InSight at the end of 2018

The electronics for data acquisition and control from SEIS were developed at ETH. They are the most important of the three measuring instruments that the InSight mission’s probe brought to Mars at the end of 2018. The highly sensitive instrument is powered by ETH Zurich controlled. collected data They are evaluated by the “Marsquake Service” in Zurich – which is made up of teams from ETH and the Swiss Seismological Service.

How important these ideas are is shown by the fact that “Science” magazine currently has three articles on the topic as its cover story. the NASA They will also be broadcasting a discussion about it live on Friday (tomorrow). website.

Close data required

“We have already been able to work with InSightdata See the different waves. So we know how away from the probe These earthquakes were on the surface of Mars.” This was explained by Domenico Giardini, Professor of Seismology and Geodynamics at ETH and Head of the SEIS Project.

In order to be able to say something about the internal structure, earthquake waves are needed that would be reflected near the core of the planet. Now, for the first time, it was possible to find something like this on Mars Measurement and analysis.

The InSight mission was a unique opportunity to do just that data pick up. Within a year, the lander’s solar cells won’t produce enough electricity to transmit more records.

The data has yet to be fully evaluated

“But we evaluate everyone data Giardini says it’s not over yet. “Mars still presents us with many mysteries. Among them, above all, is the question of whether it was made at the same time and of the same material as us a land formed”.

It is especially important to understand how the internal dynamics of Mars led to the loss of the energetic magnetic field and surface waters. This makes it possible to guess whether these processes take place in a land can expire. “That’s why we’re on Mars to examine its anatomy.”

More on this topic:

ETH Zurich data from NASA Earth


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