Mars, as we now know, it is an arid and alleged lifeless world. It was not always like this, however. New evidence from Curiosity rover, as well as other expeditions, show that the Red Planet once had an atmosphere and liquid water, before its magnetic field dramatically disappeared.
Now, the InSight lander has discovered that there is still a lot of magnetic field activity on Mars than researchers ever expected; as a matter of fact, it is about ten times more than previous estimations. On Earth, the powerful magnetic field defends us from harmful radiation and creates a cocoon that protects against the solar wind.
With no magnetic field, the solar wind took away most of Mars’ atmosphere. Researchers knew that there was still some leftover magnetic field activity on the dry planet, but InSight is the first expedition to measure it in a more precise way.
InSight touched down on Mars in 2018 and soon after became the first project to be capable of registering and reading seismic activity on another planet. It also packs a magnetic senor that NASA used to select magnetic interference in that information, but scientists have now managed to use that data to measure the planet’s magnetic field strength.
The Magnetic Field is Ten Times Stronger
Before the new data, the best estimate of the Red Planet’s magnetic field was received by satellite missions that orbited above the atmosphere. The international study analyzing this information fund Mars’ magnetic field is about ten times more powerful than the satellite data suggested earlier.
Based on data received from past expeditions, researchers believe that Mars’ magnetic field vanished approximately 4.2 billion years ago. Most of the rocks on and close to the surface are much younger than that, so they would not have been subjected to the magnetic field.
The team, hence, believes that the leftover magnetic field comes from very old rocks that are about several hundred feet underneath the surface. With more data from other projects, they could understand more about the planet’s inner structure and geological background.