Mars hides a radioactive secret beneath its surface

The wonders of space are vast and sometimes incredible, with scientists constantly making discoveries about alien planets that could never be replicated on Earth. According to Futurism, one such wonder has been discovered right on Earth's neighbor, Mars. NASA scientists have determined through seismic data that the red planet contains a vast ocean composed of radioactive magma flowing just beneath the crust of the surface.

A new Mars earthquake has given scientists enough data to determine that there is magma flowing beneath the planet's surface.

This magma ocean on Mars reaches a depth of more than 200 km, according to a study conducted by geophysicists in Zurich, Switzerland, making it completely unlike anything on Earth. Earth's oceans are only capable of reaching a fraction of that depth, with the deepest point known to mankind, the Mariana Trench, reaching only 11,022 m. deep. By comparison, 200 km. into the Earth would put you far beyond the continental tectonic plates and into the planet's mantle.

The discovery of the core oceans of lava seems to confirm the theory that Mars has a small and very dense core, similar to Earth's, with layers of magma that have previously obscured data about the planet in previous studies.

Unlike the flowing magma found on Mars, however, Earth's mantle is mostly composed of silicates, including garnet, pyroxene and olivine, as well as magnesium oxide. One of the Zurich-based researchers, Amir Khan, explained in a recent press statement that the discovery has completely changed the way scientists view Mars, as the newfound information shatters our previous understanding of the planet's density. Previous studies of Mars led scientists to believe that the planet's core was unusually large, leaving a number of researchers puzzled as to the origin of the celestial body's low density.

These latest seismic readings were taken by NASA's InSight robotic lander, which landed on the surface of the red planet in 2018. In addition to collecting evidence of hundreds of kilometers of magma beneath the surface, the InSight probe may also have shed light on the existence of earthquakes.

Just a few months ago, lunar research revealed the impact that small artificial rovers could have on seismic activity on the Moon, leaving researchers to reconsider future strategies for landing the satellite in Earth orbit. Like Earth and the Moon, Mars contains sensitive tectonic activity that sometimes causes massive tremors. Unlike Earth, however, the crust of Mars is not teeming with continental plates that move between different massive bodies of water; instead, most of the seismic tremors come from a hail of asteroids.

Two asteroid impacts in particular have piqued the interest of researchers, with huge quakes reported on the surface of Mars in August and September 2021. Thanks to powerful vibrational signatures picked up by InSight, NASA was able to detect a pair of meteors that struck the planet and buried incredibly deep in the rocky interior.

Although mankind has never set foot on the celestial body, Mars remains a prime exploration site for researchers seeking to better understand our solar system. If we ever develop the technology needed to land a human being on the big red orb, it may be best to avoid it. With meteor showers dotting the surface and oceans of magma flowing just beneath the crust, Mars doesn't seem like a relaxing vacation destination. / BGNES