The Mars expedition led by NASA's "rover" curiosity has been on the Red Planet for six and a half years, and now researchers have discovered: use of new on-board instrumentsand the fact is that sensor replacement allows you to measure gravity pulling, He published the journal Science.
The main thing was to transform the vehicle's driving sensors to transform them gravimeterwith which it was possible to measure for the first time stone density Sharp hill in the lower part of Gale crater. Thus, it was verified that the density of these rocks was lower than previously thought.
"Curiosity is basically a new science tool six and a half years after the mission begins. new information on Mars underground area in such a way that the rover was not developed, ”said Kevin Lee, a geophysicist at John Hopkins University, and the Department of Planetary Sciences.
Same as "Smartphone" and Apollo 17
The change of Curiosity devices works similar to what happens with smartphones Accelerometers and gyros When moving a "smartphone", they follow the location and address of the person carrying the mobile phone. In the case of Rover, its tools are more accurate, so knowing its orientation, engineers can direct them more accurately, as well as multi-directional high-strength antennas.
In addition, "rover" accelerometers can be used as Apollo 17 gravimeters determine the severity of the places where the device stops. It was then possible to use the information obtained during the five-year curiosity mission Measure gravity train at 700 points from Mars – October 2012 to June 2017 – and make sure to take the hill add extra weight but not as much as expected.
"The lower levels of Mount Sharp are surprisingly porous," said Louis, adding: "We know that the bottom layers of the hill were buried over time. more frequent But this discovery suggests that they were not buried with all of our material. "
In this respect, Travis Gabriel, from the State University of Arizona, added that "work with rock mineral abundance" was able to estimate grain density of 2,810 kilograms per cubic meter. "However, the high density that came from our research It is much smaller: 1,680 kilograms per cubic meter, ”he said.
In turn, the co-author of the study, Ashwin Vasavada, concluded that "there are still many questions about how Sharp Mountain developed," but the new discovery "adds an important part to the puzzle."