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NASA mysteries: Mars is spinning faster and faster — and no one knows why

NASA mysteries: Mars is spinning faster and faster — and no one knows why

kmpkt NASA puzzles

Mars is spinning faster and faster – and no one knows why

Mars: The red planet is spinning faster and researchers are baffled

Can people live here soon?

Photo credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF/SCIEPRO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The first manned mission to Mars is scheduled to start in 2040. But the Red Planet remains a mystery. Measurements made by NASA have now shown that our neighboring planet is spinning faster. Why? unclear. Could it be related to water resources?

DrThe dream of life on Mars has fascinated humanity for decades. Meanwhile, that desire is no longer pure science fiction — at least NASA is aiming for a manned mission to Mars in the 2040s. SpaceX founder Elon Musk even takes it a step further: in one mail On platform X formerly known as Twitter, it was announced that it could happen as early as 2029.

Martians beware

FILE PHOTO: NASA's Mars rover is pictured "Photograph" He captured a dubbed rock "rochet", Sept. 10, 2021. NASA/JPL-CALTECH/MSSS/ Posted via REUTERS This image was provided by a third party.  Mandatory credit/photo file

Despite more than 40 years of research, relatively little is known about neighboring planet Earth. After all, data from the InSight space probe, which ends in 2022, is now providing startling insights. As NASA researchers have now been able to assess, the red planet is spinning at a rate of about four milliseconds faster each year. This shortens the day on Mars by a fraction of a millisecond. The experts published their findings in the specialized journal.nature“.

But why does Mars rotate faster? Before we take a closer look, one general question for you:

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The reasons for the acceleration are not yet clear – two possible explanations

So far, NASA researchers can only make assumptions based on the available data. There are two main explanations for minimum acceleration. For example, the accumulation of ice on the planet’s polar caps can increase the speed of Mars’ rotation, one of them says press release US Space Agency.

On the other hand, the so-called post-glacial uplift of the Earth can also be considered as one of the reasons. Land masses rise from the planet’s surface after being buried by ice. A shift in a planet’s mass can cause it to accelerate. The researchers liken this effect to a skater spinning with his arms outstretched and then pulling his arms back in, speeding up his spin.

It is very likely that there is water on Mars. This is confirmed by the results of A The study is from 2022 from the University of Cambridge. Among other things, astronomers used existing data from the Martian rover Perseverance.

NASA's InSight probe took this self-portrait on April 24, 2022, on day 1211 of the mission.

NASA’s InSight probe took this self-portrait on April 24, 2022, day 1211 of the Mars mission.

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This is how researchers discovered that Mars rotates faster

The current analysis and evaluation of the InSight data may provide more information about the structure of the Red Planet. The spacecraft began its mission in 2018. Four years later, it was decommissioned. During this time, the spacecraft has collected many geological data from the interior of Mars. For example, InSight has recorded several Martian earthquakes, enabling researchers to conclude, among other things, that the Martian core must have a liquid composition.


This is what it could look like when astronauts land on Mars one day

However, for the current findings, the researchers did not evaluate the probe’s seismic investigations, but radio traffic between the instrumentsInSight Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE)” and NASA’s “Deep Space Network” on Earth. The frequencies and radio waves generated by radio communications over 900 sols were measured and compared. The researchers were able to use mathematical models to infer the rotation of Mars.

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The opposite trend is evident on Earth


Using “RISE antennas” on the surface of the InSight spacecraft, the researchers were able to calculate the rotation of Mars

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Long-term trends show that Earth’s rotation is slowing. The reason is the Moon: it redistributes the Earth’s mass through tides, which has a braking effect. No oceans on Mars qualify for this explanation. But the ice caps already described at the south pole of Mars do.

In order to determine the most likely cause of the acceleration of Mars’ rotation, scientists now want to conduct a more detailed analysis. We have invested a lot of time and energy in setting up the experiment and have been waiting for these discoveries. But still, we were surprised along the way – and it’s not over yet, because RISE still has a lot to reveal about Mars,” explains astronomer Sebastien Le Maistre of the Royal Belgian Observatory in Brussels, who was involved in the study.

So we will still be able to make some exciting discoveries on the Red Planet in the future. Until then, this group is already preparing for a possible life there:

Big brother with a difference

One year on an area of ​​160 square meters