NASA’s Mars InSight Lander Discovers Mysterious Magnetic Pulses, Scientists Baffled

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 22 September 2019, 10:31 AM
The InSight mission seeks to uncover how a rocky body forms and evolves to become a planet by investigating the interior structure and composition of Mars (Photo: File)
The InSight mission seeks to uncover how a rocky body forms and evolves to become a planet by investigating the interior structure and composition of Mars (Photo: File)

NASA’s Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander has detected mysterious magnetic pulses on the Red planet. However, the cause of the pulsation is currently unknown. The information was presented at the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the American Astronomical Society, taking place in Geneva. The Insight Lander has been on the red planet since November 2018. 

“What's unusual about this occasional magnetic pulsation or wobbling is that it happens at a time when such events would be unlikely on Earth, where they are often related to northern or southern lights,” explains National Geographic. 

What is NASA’s InSight Lander?

According to NASA, the lander uses cutting edge instruments, to delve deep beneath the surface and seek the fingerprints of the processes that formed the terrestrial planets. It does so by measuring the planet's "vital signs": its "pulse" (seismology), "temperature" (heat flow), and "reflexes" (precision tracking).

This mission is part of NASA's Discovery Program for highly focused science missions that ask critical questions in solar system science. The InSight mission seeks to uncover how a rocky body forms and evolves to become a planet by investigating the interior structure and composition of Mars.

Earlier, Insight lander had sent back photo of Elysium Planitia showing some drifting clouds at sunset on April 25. This is a significant development as possibility of Life on Mars is a subject of significant interest due to its similarities to Earth. NASA, SpaceX and countries like China are all in the race to start a colony on the Red Planet in the next decade. The clouds on the photo are most likely water ice and are likened to ice fogs on Earth that don’t exactly precipitate. The Red Planet’s thin and freezing atmosphere often keep the clouds from ever falling on Mars, keeping the planet cold and dry, according to CNET.

"This precipitation most likely takes the form of frost. The ground is likely to be colder than the air (especially on cold clear nights), and so air hitting the ground cools and the water freezes to the ground as frost. Viking II (a Mars lander in the 1970s) saw frost on the ground some mornings," NASA said in a statement.

First Published: Sunday, September 22, 2019 10:24 AM
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