The Mars orbiting spacecraft found that the red planet oscillates 10 centimeters outside its axis of rotation. This is the first planet, besides Earth, that “suffers” from this circumstance. Chandler’s oscillation arises when a rotating body is not a perfect sphere. This imbalance affects its rotation.
The result is a movement similar to that of an oscillating top when losing speed, instead of turning smoothly as if it were a perfectly balanced globe.
What is Chandler Oscillation?
This irregularity was discovered in the oscillation of the Earth’s axis in 1891 by the American astronomer Seth Chandler. In fact, this condition remains a mystery today. Although there are already many theories, no one has yet been able to determine its cause.
Thus, the Chandler oscillation is one of the 3 movements that the Earth does beyond rotation and translation. This condition takes the planet to oscillate from three to six meters at the poles at a periodicity of approximately 433 days.
With regard to Mars, after measurements over almost 2 decades by spacecraft orbiting the planet, it was discovered that, on the surface, the planet’s poles oscillate up to 10 centimeters the average axis of rotation, with a repeated cycle of about 207 days.
So, these new discoveries of Konopliv et al. provide new evidence about the interior of Mars. The amount of time it takes the pole to complete an oscillation cycle reflects how much the mantle of Mars can deform, providing tips on its material properties and thermal state.
[A oscilação do Chandler] it’s a very small signal, usually. It takes many years and high quality data to detect it.
Explained Alex Konopliv, aerospace engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Mars from the outside in
In the new study, researchers were able to confirm the movement on Mars by calculating the gravitational effects in the orbits of two NASA spacecraft circling the Red Planet: Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
So, the abundant data collection, achieved over 18 years, which were not available during previous analyzes, ensured that the oscillation identified was intrinsic to the shape and interior of the planet, rather than external factors such as seasonal melting of the polar caps .
Scientists do not yet know what is maintaining the oscillation. However, previous studies indicate that it will likely be due to changes in atmospheric pressure.
*The article has been translated based on the content of Pplware by pplware.sapo.pt. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!
*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.
*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!