For the first time, researchers were able to measure how much a non-Earth planet wobbles. Now we can say that Mars ‘ axis of rotation sways slightly, about ten to 10 centimeters, every 207 days. By comparison, the Earth’s axis wobbles 6 meters over a period of 433 days.
Dr. From NASA “This Wobble is quite small, as we expected,” says Alex Konopliv. “we had to work with very high-quality datasets for many years to measure it.”
It’s really amazing that we can measure such a small wobble on another planet. In the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the researchers estimate this value correctly, Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor data from the spacecraft they used. Radio tracking shows that spacecraft are experiencing some gravitational effect due to this wobble.
The team also found that the source of the wobble was unique to the planet, and that it was not caused by surface effects such as seasonal melting of polar glaciers on Mars. This fact is very important for us to better understand the Red Planet.
Mars is an arid planet with a very thin atmosphere. The research team thinks Mars ‘ wobble is caused by the mantle layer beneath its crust. The duration of a complete wobble is considered important information in terms of showing how much deformation the mantle can undergo.