Using the data collected from three spacecraft, NASA released an impressive Mars gravity map. The map will be essential in gaining knowledge of the planets gravitation and helping mission controllers bring spacecraft into orbit.
GRAVITY MAP SHOWS X-RAY OF MARS
The gravity map acts as a kind of x-ray for Mars. One can see inside the plane and assess it’s areas of gravity. Thanks to the improved resolution of this map, NASA can better understand the formation of specific gravity regions on the map. Data was collected by NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor. What they discovered was some gravitation pull similar to what we have on Earth. For example, the pull will be stronger over a raised surface and weaker over something deep into the ground like a canyon.
MAPS HELPS NASA UNDERSTAND MYSTERIOUS FEATURES
Previously, some features on Mars were a mystery to NASA. The high resolution of the latest gravity map, however, has helped clear up some issues. Certain features form a boundary that divides the smooth northern part of the planet to the heavily impacted southern region. In addition to that, scientists have found the planet to have a liquid outer layer of molten rock. This was seen by analyzing tides in the crust that was caused by the gravitational pulls of the planet’s two moons and the sun.
RED PLANET TRAVEL EVEN CLOSER NOW
The more information that is found in the red plant, the closer NASA comes to physically getting there. The space agency has announced a May 2018 launch for its Insight Mission. Although it was delayed, the agency is confident their intelligence will be ready to take on the challenge by then. Other agencies around the world are also looking to explore the planet. Russia, for one, has expressed some serious interest. The first part of a joint mission with Europe launched earlier this month and Russia is experimenting with nuclear thermal energy to send a manned mission to mars. When they do that is not certain, but the U.S plans to send a manned mission to the planet by 2035.