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Mysterious Magnetic Pulses Discovered on Mars plus Hints of an Underground Ocean

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posted on Sep, 21 2019 @ 03:30 PM
NASA's InSight lander has been quietly getting on with the science since it successfully touched down on Mars last November and interesting stuff is beginning to appear , like mysterious nocturnal magnetic pulses.

InSight’s magnetometer, the first placed on the Martian surface, gave scientists their best look yet at the crustal magnetic field, and it gave them a bit of a shock: The magnetic field near the robot was around 20 times stronger than what had been predicted based on past orbital measurements.

Brain, who is familiar with the InSight data, says that this strong, stable magnetic signal is coming from rocks near InSight, but whether they are deep underground or nearer to the surface is currently unclear. That identification matters, Byrne says, because if it’s coming from younger rocks near the surface, it would imply that a strong magnetic field persisted around Mars for longer than we currently think.

Perhaps even more puzzling, InSight also found that the crustal magnetic field near its location jiggled about every now and then. This wobbling is known as a magnetic pulsation, explains Matthew Fillingim, a space physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the InSight science team.

These pulses are fluctuations in the strength or direction of the magnetic field, and they are not entirely unusual. Plenty of them happen on Earth and Mars triggered by upper atmospheric chaos, the action of the solar wind, and kinks in the planets’ magnetic bubbles, among other things.

What’s strange is that these Martian wobbles happen at local midnight, as if responding to the demands of an unseen, nocturnal timer.

Another discovery of note and far more interesting if you're looking for Martian life is Insight has found an indication that there may be an underground ocean 2.5 miles thick and no deeper than 62 miles waiting to be discovered.

What’s more, the lander has picked up on a very peculiar electrically conductive layer, about 2.5 miles thick, deep beneath the planet’s surface. It’s far too early to say with any certainty, but there is a chance that this layer could represent a global reservoir of liquid water.

On Earth, groundwater is a hidden sea locked up in sand, soil, and rocks. If something similar is found on Mars, then “we shouldn’t be surprised,” says Jani Radebaugh, a planetary scientist at Brigham Young University who was not involved with the work. But if these results bear out, a liquid region at this scale on modern Mars has enormous implications for the potential for life, past or present.

Insight's doing the un-glamorous work that may just lead us to the biggest Martian discovery yet ... the missing water.

edit on 21-9-2019 by gortex because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 21 2019 @ 03:43 PM
a reply to: gortex

Insight is also having a problem with the mole. They are trying to get it to bore down into the soil but it is having problems. They may have to use the scoop to put soil in the hole with it or even push down on it. They are not sure if they can pull it out with the scoop to start over without damaging the mole.

Good to hear they are making progress with the other instruments! Great info. Thanks for posting it.


the Martian crust is far more powerfully magnetic than scientists expected.

Maybe this is even more reason to make a base underground that will block harmful radiation.

edit on 21-9-2019 by LookingAtMars because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 21 2019 @ 11:10 PM
a reply to: gortex

If there is a deep underground ocean, especially if it was previously (at least partially) on the surface, it would be really interesting to know how/why it retreated inward. Or maybe its just that the exposed water evaporated with the atmosphere, but the deep sub-surface water is protected from escaping and evaporating?

posted on Sep, 21 2019 @ 11:16 PM
a reply to: gortex

Brain, who is familiar with the InSight data


Dave Brain. Think he may have grown up with some pressure to live up to his name?

edit on 21-9-2019 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 21 2019 @ 11:23 PM
a reply to: dogstar23

I remember reading something about how Mars could have formed a molten core and a magnetic shield, but it was hypothesized that a higher concentration of water acted to cool it before it could.

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