Climate change on Mars may be understood soon thanks to InSight rover

The climatic changes in the history of Mars can be analyzed by measuring the temperatures of the subsoil: it is to this result that some researchers of the University of Stirling have arrived who have relied on the technology related to the probe of the heat flows that is on board of one NASA rover present on Mars arrived in the context of the InSight mission, NASA’s latest on Mars.

The researchers, who have worked on hypothetical models, have discovered that the planet’s climate changes, such as those that occurred on Earth, can therefore be effectively detected by this particular tool. The research was carried out by Nicholas Attree, who led the research team, who together with his colleague Axel Hagermann is working on the NASA InSight mission which saw the landing of the rover on Mars in November last year.

Researchers are working on the particular tool Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe (HP3), provided by the German planetary research institute in Berlin, which will excavate Mars to record its temperatures and measure heat flow. Depending on the amount of heat the probe will measure and the quality of the measurements, it will be possible to create Martian climate evolution models.

The team could therefore also identify past climate changes in Mars as long as they are very large changes: “We have found that it is unlikely that small changes caused by climate change will be detected by HP3,” said Attree. “However, it may be possible to detect very large changes, and this is important because we might be able to perform similar measurements on other planets.”

The work was published in Planetary and Space Science.