back to article NASA InSight lander spills the beans on Mars' core

NASA's Mars InSight lander may be dead, but the data it gathered is still filled with surprises – like the first direct observations of another planet's core, which scientists now believe is smaller and denser than previously thought. In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team …

  1. redpawn

    Old Data =

    New Discoveries.

    Mine that data and share the gold!

    With thanks to all the Boffins involved at every stage of the process.

  2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Core composition

    "liquid iron as well as around a fifth of it being made up of sulfur, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen"

    I am amazed that they can tell the chemical composition of the core from seismic waves. If the core is liquid, can they tell how hot it is and why, unlike the Earth, it does not have an appreciable magnetic field?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Core composition

      From my experience on a submarine and from what I know about Sonar back THEN, it is still pretty amazing what sound alone can tell you

      A lot of this probably has to do with speed of sound which can generate curved paths among other things (due to change in density). Who knows, maybe sound resonance gives you some kind of 'spectral line' to identify material...


  3. Phil E Succour

    Dusty Panels

    InSight met its fate because its solar panels, the lander's only source of energy, were covered by Martian dust, making it unable to draw enough power to carry on with its mission.

    I get it that adding some kind of mechanism to clean the solar panels would be more mass to lift to Mars and would potentially introduce extra failure modes, and that such a mechanism wasn’t necessary to reach the design life of the mission, but…

    It always seems a shame when these landers crap out because their power source is covered in Martian dust but their instruments are otherwise functional. Perhaps, if dear old Elon ever makes it to Mars, NASA could supply him with a feather duster and a French Maid's outfit and he could drive around in his Tesla MarsRover dusting off solar panels for them?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Dusty Panels

      Elon ... a feather duster and a French Maid's outfit

      I could have done without that image this early in the morning!

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Dusty Panels

        I'm just waiting for the contribution from someone with an AI art system to hand. Aka: pics or it didn't happen!

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Dusty Panels

        Send a robot maid to clean the panels, like a 'Nan-droid' maybe?

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge

    martian canals

    It was once said that Mars had 'canals' from early observers with much less sophisticated telescopes. Maybe the water did not disappear as long ago as people think?

    Or then again it was from optical illusions caused by primitive optics...

    In any case it's worth a mention

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