The interior of Mars as deduced by Mars Pathfinder.
Click on image for full size
Image from: NASA/JPL
The Interior of Mars, from Mars Pathfinder
Many missions have returned data on the shape of Mars, a measurement which helps scientists understand a planet's interior. These data first showed that Mars had a huge bulge, now called the Tharsis Ridge. Mars Pathfinder took better data on the shape of Mars by passing over the Martian poles instead of the around the middle.
These data suggest that Mars has a large, and solid core, as shown in the figure to the left. (The figure is a rough drawing and is not meant to show the detailed shape of the core). These findings help address questions which remain about Mars, and contribute to the overall results returned by the Mars Pathfinder mission.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
You might also be interested in:
You may wonder how it is that scientists know what the inside of a planet is like. The way the mass of a body is spread inside the body affects how the body spins in space. If the body has a large core,...more
These are the findings of Mars Pathfinder. Rounded Pebbles were found - a result from analysis of the landing site, the rocks, and the soils. there were a variety of rocks deposited by a catastrophic flood...more
The Mars Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001. After a six-month journey, the Odyssey arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001. The instruments onboard the Mars Odyssey will study the minerals on the surface...more
The Mars 2005 mission is still in the planning stages. It is set to launch in the year 2005. ...more
Aerobraking slowed the Mars Global Surveyor down when it reached Mars. Aerobraking also helped MGS to get into the right orbit for mapping the surface of Mars. Aerobraking means that the MGS flew through...more
Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. This instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The graph to the left shows the results returned from Mars...more
Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. The picture to the left shows Mars Global Surveyor's measurement of the size of the giant cliff which separates the southern...more