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NASA’s Mars Lander Detects Mysterious Magnetic Pulses

September 23rd 19__Victor Tangermann__Filed Under: Hard Science
NASA

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NASA’s InSight Mars Lander detected a series of strange magnetic pulses that occurred exactly at midnight, Mars time.

Scientists have yet to figure out the source of the strange natural phenomenon, according to National Geographic — a finding that upends years of thought about the Red Planet.

Night Shift

In 1997, NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor found that Mars once had a global magnetic field just like Earth’s, but scientists at NASA believe that it collapsed billions of years ago. There are several theories as to why it collapsed: one of which suggests huge asteroids once bombarded the Red Planet causing it to lose its magnetic field.

But the new measurements by InSight’s magnetometer have scientists scratching their heads, according to National Geographic: the lander found the magnetic field on the surface to be 20 times stronger than predicted. The magnetic field also tends to fluctuate in strength or direction — and at precisely midnight, raising even more questions for the InSight’s team back on Earth.

Field Day

In addition to the strange pulsations, InSight detected a strange electrically conductive layer that’s about 2.5 miles thick deep below the Martian surface, National Geographic reports.

There is a slim chance the layer could represent a massive reservoir of liquid water — but it’s way too early to say that with any degree of certainty.

READ MORE: Mysterious magnetic pulses discovered on Mars [National Geographic]

More on InSight: NASA’s InSight Mars Lander Just Recorded Its First Ever Marsquake