A latest study has revealed that, the crust of mars is not as dense as previously thought and a lower density likely means that at least part of the Red Planet’s crust is relatively porous.
The findings, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, provide researchers clue that could help them better understand the interior structure and evolution of Mars.
The researchers mapped the density of the “Martian crust”, estimating the average density is 2,582 kilograms per meter cubed (about 161 pounds per cubic foot).
That’s comparable to the average density of the “lunar crust”.
Typically, Mars’ crust has been considered at least as dense as Earth’s oceanic crust, which is about 2,900 kilograms per meter cubed (about 181 pounds per cubic foot).
The new value is derived from Mars’ gravity field, a global model that can be extracted from satellite tracking data using sophisticated mathematical tools.
The gravity field for Earth is extremely detailed, because the data sets have very high resolution.
Recent studies of the Moon by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, mission also yielded a precise gravity map.
The data sets for Mars don’t have as much resolution, so it’s more difficult to pin down the density of the crust from current gravity maps.
As a result, previous estimates relied more heavily on studies of the composition of Mars’ soil and rocks.
“As this story comes together, we’re coming to the conclusion that it’s not enough just to know the composition of the rocks,” study co-author Greg Neumann, a planetary geologist at Goddard, said.
“We also need to know how the rocks have been reworked over time,” Neumann said.