Faculty in the News In the News

December 3, 2018 at 8:58 am

Hicks in Dispatch | Mars Probe Will Teach Us How Red Planet, Solar System, Formed

Dr. Kenneth Hicks, portrait

Dr. Kenneth Hicks

Dr. Kenneth Hicks, Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Ohio University, authored a column in the Columbus Dispatch headlined “Astronomy: Mars probe will teach us how the Red Planet, solar system, formed.”

InSight landed on Mars this past week after a six-month journey. Its purpose is to take measurements that will allow scientists to study the interior of the Red Planet. It has three primary instruments: a seismograph to measure “Marsquakes,″ a heat probe that will burrow 16 feet below the surface, and a radar reflector to provide InSight’s precise location.

Much of what we know about Earth’s interior is from measurements of earthquakes. As the waves from an earthquake pass through Earth, both on the surface and its interior, the wave speed depends on Earth’s composition. Similarly, measurements of Marsquakes will tell us whether it has a solid or liquid core (and how big it is).

The heat probe will tell us about variations in temperature below the surface, which can be compared with models of the Martian crust. In essence, the heat probe will tell whether there is a heat source at the center of Mars.

Read more in the Columbus Dispatch.

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