Mars gravity map is revealing new details about the planet, from its core to the atmosphere. As per NASA, it is one of the best ever developed gravity map that will make it easier for future space missions to reach and conduct experiments at the Red Planet.
Scientists said that the new Martian gravity map also unveils clues into how the planet’s past was formed. The new map has been made using data from three NASA spacecrafts, including the Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Lead author Antonio Genova of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, said that the gravity map allows them to see inside a planet. “The new gravity map will be helpful for future Mars exploration, because better knowledge of the planet’s gravity anomalies helps mission controllers insert spacecraft more precisely into orbit about Mars”, affirmed Genova.
The gravity map has an improved resolution that will help scientists understand the unknown facts of formation of the specific regions of the planet. Additional insights about Mars have also been found through the new Martian gravity map.
It has been confirmed seeing tides in the Martian crust and mantle, caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and Mars’ two moons that the planet has a liquid exterior of molten rock. The researchers have also looked at changes in Martian gravity over 11 years.
Their observations have helped researchers to know how much of the polar ice caps’ carbon dioxide freezes out of the atmosphere in winter. It shall be noted that the gravity varies in different regions of Mars.
“With this new map, we’ve been able to see gravity anomalies as small as about 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) across, and we’ve determined the crustal thickness of Mars with a resolution of around 120 kilometers (almost 75 miles)”, affirmed Genova.