It’s small, but very real. Mars’ rotation is accelerating. The length of days continues to decrease on the Red Planet. A day lasts about 24 hours and 40 minutes on Mars. However, the researchers found that this duration decreases by a fraction of a millisecond per year.
this discovery, Published in the journal Nature, thanks to data recovered by NASA’s InSight probe. Astronomers are not able to explain the reasons for this acceleration, but they put forward hypotheses. This phenomenon can result from the accumulation of ice at the poles of Mars or from the rise of the continental masses after they are covered with ice. CNN reports. When a planet’s mass changes in this way, it can cause the planet’s rotation to speed up.
“It’s a historic experience.”
“It’s a landmark experiment,” welcomes the study’s lead author, Sebastien Le Maistre, of the Royal Belgian Observatory. “We spent a lot of time and energy preparing for this experiment and anticipating these discoveries. Despite that, we were still amazed along the way — and we keep counting, because RISE still has a lot to unearth about Mars.”
RISE is the instrument that was on board the InSight probe. If the latter did not provide any sign of the presence of life since the end of 2022, it nevertheless made it possible to collect precious data, which made it possible to determine the volume of the Martian core, made up of molten metal, in contrast to that of the Earth, which is completely liquid.
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