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NASAs InSight will decode how mountains formed on Mars



Washington, August 29 (IANS) NASA's InSight spacecraft, which passed the Mars marker, carries a unique instrument that allows scientists to understand the geological processes that created the mighty mountains on the Martian surface.

InSight for interior exploration using seismic surveys, geodesy, and heat transport

The Mars Lander carries a unique instrument – Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) – that is capable of measuring outgoing heat from the planet ,

This may shed some light on how the mighty mountains of Mars – which eclipse Mt. Everest here on Earth – first formed, NASA said.

"Planets are like a motor driven by heat that moves their inner parts, and with HP3 we will lift the hood of Mars for the first time," said Sue Smrekar, Deputy Head of HP3 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) California

The Red Planet has some of the highest mountains in the solar system. This includes Olympus Mons, a volcano that is almost three times as high as Everest. It borders a region called the Tharsis Plateau, where three equally impressive volcanoes dominate the landscape.

"Most of the planet's geology is a result of heat," said Smrekar.

"Volcanic eruptions in the past have been fueled by the current of this heat shooting up the mountains Mars is famous for," added Smrekar.

The HP3, built and operated by the DLR (German Aerospace Center), will be placed on the surface of Mars after InSight landed on 26 November.

A probe called Mole will beat up the ground, bury itself and pull a tether behind it. Temperature sensors embedded in this band measure the natural internal heat of Mars.

The mole must dig deep enough to escape the large temperature fluctuations of the Martian surface. Even the "body heat" of the spacecraft could affect the highly sensitive measurements of HP3, NASA said.

The results of the InSight mission will also show scientists how all rocky planets are formed ̵

1; including Earth, Moon, and even other planetary solar systems

– IANS

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