On November 26, 2018, NASA has successfully deployed the InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) lander on Mars. ...
News from Nov 26, 2018
....For the next two years, the probe will collect geophysical data to study interior properties such as heat transport and earthquakes generated by material transport in the red planet and meteorite impacts. The Institute for Planetary Research at DLR in Berlin is in charge of the heat flow probe in this mission. One of the big goals of the project will be to test existing models of the interior structure of Mars such as its crustal thickness, mineral transformations in the Martian mantle and the size and composition of the Martian core.
In particular core composition and the temperature structure of the Martian interior are controversial. Recently, TRR 170 researchers studied concentrations of sulfur and related elements in Martian meteorites and inferred that the Martian mantle should contain a lower amount of sulfur than previously thought (Wang and Becker, 2017, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 463, 56-68). This result also implies a considerably lower sulfur content in the Martian core of about 5 to 10 weight-%, compared to previous estimates of 15 to 20 weight-%. InSight’s goal will be to collect data that can be used to test these different hypotheses and to assess if the Martian core is fully molten or partially solid like Earth’s core. From these studies, we will learn more about the formation and early evolution of Earth-like planets and the influence of geological processes on planetary habitability.