Studying Mars Inside Out
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
As I write this Creation Moment, the joint NASA / ESA InSight mission to Mars has just landed, and scientists wanting to study Mars are understandably excited.
The InSight lander was launched by an Atlas V rocket on May 5th 2018, and landed, safely and gently, in a sandy plain just 3° North of the Martian Equator known as Elysium Planitia. Early photos show this area to be largely devoid of rocks, unlike other recent landers, and this is what the Mars explorers wanted because the purpose of this spacecraft is to study the interior of the planet.
NASA first attempted to take seismic readings on Mars in 1976 with the Viking I lander. However, 40 years of technological advancement, and the partnership of the European Space Agency, has led to the development of a much more sophisticated set of apparatus. Mars is a solid planet like the Earth, so scientists expect to find the interior somewhat similar to that on Earth with a semi-molten mantle and a metallic core. It is hoped that InSight will be able to tell if the Martian core is solid or liquid.
It is true that NASA’s scientists will want to make conjectures about an evolutionary past for Mars. But this in no way negates the interest or importance of the mission. The data returning from the Red Planet will be fascinating, and I, for one, praise God for the abilities of talented people to explore further this universe that God has made for us.
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