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The interior of Mars as deduced by Mars Pathfinder.
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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.


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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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How do we know what the inside of a Planet or Moon is like?

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Results from Mars Pathfinder

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Mars Odyssey

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Mars Global Surveyor Measures Olympus Mons

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Mars Global Surveyor Measures Martian Global Hemispheres

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA