New gravity map sheds light on Mars' mysterious interiors

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New Gravity Map Sheds Light On Mars' Mysterious Interiors

NASA has spent years sending spacecraft and rovers to Mars in an effort to unlock some of the planet's mysteries, and those efforts have paid off in a number of ways.

Among them is the recent completion of a new, highly detailed gravity map.

Antonio Genova, author of the paper describing the achievement, commented, "Gravity maps allow us to see inside a planet, just as a doctor uses an X-ray to see inside a patient."

See images of ExoMars spacecraft heading out in search for life on Mars:

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ExoMars spacecraft heads out in search for life on Mars
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New gravity map sheds light on Mars' mysterious interiors
The Proton-M rocket booster blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Monday, March 14, 2016. Europe and Russia launched a joint mission Monday to explore the atmosphere of Mars and hunt for signs of life on the red planet. The unmanned ExoMars probe, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, took off aboard a Russian rocket and is expected to reach Mars in October. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
The Proton-M rocket booster blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Monday, March 14, 2016. Europe and Russia launched a joint mission Monday to explore the atmosphere of Mars and hunt for signs of life on the red planet. The unmanned ExoMars probe, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, took off aboard a Russian rocket and is expected to reach Mars in October. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN - MARCH 14: In this handout photo provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), the ExoMars 2016 lifts off on a Proton-M rocket at Baikonur cosmodrome on March 14, 2016 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The Proton rocket is carrying the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli descent and landing demonstrator module to Mars. One of the Scientific objectives of the collaborative project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency is to search for signs of past and present life on Mars. (Photo by Stephane Corvaja/ESA via Getty Images)
The Proton-M rocket booster blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Monday, March 14, 2016. Europe and Russia launched a joint mission Monday to explore the atmosphere of Mars and hunt for signs of life on the red planet. The unmanned ExoMars probe, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, took off aboard a Russian rocket and is expected to reach Mars in October. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN - MARCH 14: In this handout photo provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), the ExoMars 2016 lifts off on a Proton-M rocket at Baikonur cosmodrome on March 14, 2016 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The Proton rocket is carrying the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli descent and landing demonstrator module to Mars. One of the Scientific objectives of the collaborative project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency is to search for signs of past and present life on Mars. (Photo by Stephane Corvaja/ESA via Getty Images)
A Russian Proton-M rocket carrying the ExoMars 2016 spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome on March 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN - MARCH 14: In this handout photo provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), the ExoMars 2016 lifts off on a Proton-M rocket at Baikonur cosmodrome on March 14, 2016 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The Proton rocket is carrying the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli descent and landing demonstrator module to Mars. One of the Scientific objectives of the collaborative project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency is to search for signs of past and present life on Mars. (Photo by Stephane Corvaja/ESA via Getty Images)
A Russian Proton-M rocket carrying the ExoMars 2016 spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome on March 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN. MARCH 14, 2016. A Proton-M rocket carrying ExoMars 2016 spacecraft blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. ExoMars, a joint ESA-Roscosmos mission, is aimed at finding life on Mars. Sergei Savostyanov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images)
The Proton-M rocket booster blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Monday, March 14, 2016. The Russian rocket carries an orbiter for measuring atmospheric gases of Mars and a Mars lander of the 'ExoMars 2016' mission. 'ExoMars 2016' is an astrobiology mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) in collaboration with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
A Russian Proton-M rocket carrying the ExoMars 2016 spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome on March 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
The Proton-M rocket booster blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Monday, March 14, 2016. Europe and Russia launched a joint mission Monday to explore the atmosphere of Mars and hunt for signs of life on the red planet. The unmanned ExoMars probe, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, took off aboard a Russian rocket and is expected to reach Mars in October. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
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This particular one has resulted in a number of insights into the workings of Mars.


Among the fascinating finds is the confirmation that the outer core of the Red Planet is liquid and made of molten rock.

Scientists also determined that the seasonal formation of ice caps on the north and south poles involves the freezing of 3 to 4 trillion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide.


Creating the map required years of analysis and included 16 years worth of data.

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