Nasa’s Bric–brac rover has measured the gravity of Mount Sharp, a Martian mountain that is round 5km-high from the base of the Gale Crater.
Mission scientists repurposed the sensors that determination the rover and turned them into gravimeters to measure changes in gravitational give up in order to measure the mountain.
The sensors calculated the subtle pull from disconcert layers on the lower portions of Mount Sharp and found that the density of the sway is much less than expected.
Curiosity is also equipped with accelerometers, which can gumshoe the planet’s gravity when the rover is immobilised.
“The calculations are expected to assistance scientists who are trying to find answers on how Mount Sharp was formed.”
As shard of a study about the discovery, lead author and Johns Hopkins University professor Kevin Lewis tested more than 700 measurements from Curiosity’s accelerometers. These were recorded by the vagabond when it climbed up Mount Sharp between October 2012 and June 2017.
The deliberations are expected to help scientists who are trying to find answers on how Mount Shrewd was formed.
Lewis said: “The lower levels of Mount Sharp are surprisingly spongy.
“We know the bottom layers of the mountain were buried over nevertheless. That compacts them, making them denser.
“But this find suggests they weren’t buried by as much material as we thought.”
Nasa Jet Power Laboratory Curiosity project scientist and study co-author Ashwin Vasavada replied: “There are still many questions about how Mount Sharp improved, but this paper adds an important piece to the puzzle.
“I’m thrilled that ingenious scientists and engineers are still finding innovative ways to make new orderly discoveries with the rover.”