Ref: SCART-2023-0156

Spin state and deep interior structure of Mars from InSight radio tracking

Le Maistre, Sébastien ; Rivoldini, Attilio ; Caldiero, Alfonso ; Yseboodt, Marie ; Baland, Rose-Marie ; Beuthe, Mikael ; Van Hoolst, Tim ; Dehant, Véronique ; Folkner, William M. ; Buccino, Dustin ; Kahan, Daniel ; Marty, Jean-Charles ; Antonangeli, Daniele ; Badro, James ; Drilleau, Mélanie ; Konopliv, Alex ; Péters, Marie-Julie ; Plesa, Ana-Catalina ; Samuel, Henri ; Tosi, Nicola ; Wieczorek, Mark ; Lognonné, Philippe ; Panning, Mark ; Smrekar, Suzanne ; Banerdt, W. Bruce

published in Nature, 619, pp. 733–737 (2023)

Abstract: Knowledge of the interior structure and atmosphere of Mars is essential to understanding how the planet has formed and evolved. A major obstacle to investigations of planetary interiors, however, is that they are not directly accessible. Most of the geophysical data provide global information that cannot be separated into contributions from the core, the mantle and the crust. The NASA InSight mission changed this situation by providing high-quality seismic and lander radio science data1,2. Here we use the InSight's radio science data to determine fundamental properties of the core, mantle and atmosphere of Mars. By precisely measuring the rotation of the planet, we detected a resonance with a normal mode that allowed us to characterize the core and mantle separately. For an entirely solid mantle, we found that the liquid core has a radius of 1,835 $\pm$55 km and a mean density of 5,955--6,290 kg m−3, and that the increase in density at the core--mantle boundary is 1,690--2,110 kg m−3. Our analysis of InSight's radio tracking data argues against the existence of a solid inner core and reveals the shape of the core, indicating that there are internal mass anomalies deep within the mantle. We also find evidence of a slow acceleration in the Martian rotation rate, which could be the result of a long-term trend either in the internal dynamics of Mars or in its atmosphere and ice caps.

DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-06150-0

The record appears in these collections:
Royal Observatory of Belgium > Reference Systems & Planetology
Science Articles > Peer Reviewed Articles

 Record created 2023-08-30, last modified 2023-09-05

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