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This is what scientists found when they peered deep beneath the surface of Mars



New data from Mars ‘investigation have provided more evidence of Mars’ volcanic past.

The new study, which was published in Nature communication, Details how scientists used NARA’s InSight Mars Lander to record vibrations in the ground. This allowed them to map approximately 600 feet below the surface of the planet. Here they discovered data that seems to note the existence of stocks of ancient, dried lava flows.

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Scientists map beneath the surface in recent Mars exploration

NASA's Mars Insight Lander.  - Credit: NASA / JPL

NASA’s Mars Insight Lander. – Credit: NASA / JPL

NASA / JPL

The last bit of exploration on the red planet has led scientists to make some interesting discoveries. The volcanic history of Mars has been a topic of conversation for as long as we have explored the planet. In fact, Mars is home to Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano in the solar system. The Lowell Observation says that the volcano is more than twice the height of Mount Everest, at approximately 72,000 feet fall.

Although history is known, new evidence to support it has been discovered beneath the planet’s surface. Scientists used a method called Rayleigh waves in this latest study. Rayleigh waves are not a new area of ​​study. Scientists often use them on the ground, and they can discover details about what is beneath the surface they travel along. Still, it is intriguing to see them used in Mars exploration.

Using the Rayleigh waves – and the InSight Mars Lander, which NASA sent to the planet in 2018 – scientists are able to map beneath the planet’s surface. In this 600-foot area, they found several layers of lava, as well as a sedimentary layer of rock wedged beneath them.

As they used Rayleigh waves to explore beneath the surface

From NASA's Blog:

From NASA’s blog: “This image of Mars was taken from a height of 33 feet (10 meters) by NASA’s ingenuity Mars helicopter during its sixth flight on May 22, 2021.” – Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

NASA / JPL-Caltec

On Earth, researchers use vibrations in the earth caused by natural factors such as the activity of oceans and humanity. In the exploration of Mars, however, these factors are not present. Instead, the researchers used vibrations caused by the wind.

They used the InSight Lander seismometer to detect the vibrations. Subsequently, they used the data to map approximately 656 feet below the surface. Several meters down, they found evidence that a sedimentary layer of rock was buried among volcanic rocks. The researchers say that studying the layers further could help create a timeline of the events. This may help to connect the things even more.

What these findings ultimately mean is still unclear. Sedimentary rock plays a vital part in the make-up of the earth, so it is interesting to see a layer of it wedged so close to the surface of the red planet. Does it prove that there was once life on Mars? Probably not. However, by studying it further, scientists could possibly determine more about the planet, including a timeline of when the last volcanic eruption happened.

See the original version of this article on BGR.com


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