Our neighboring planet Mars has been the subject of many controversial claims. Could humans survive on the planet for an extended period of time? Is the planet habitable? Are there any aliens already living there? Hopefully, we’ll find out the answers to such huge questions someday, but until then, humanity has other mysteries to unravel about the Red Planet.
Behold the Chandler wobble
Mars’ poles are wandering away from the planet’s axis of rotation, about 4 inches every 200 days. The phenomenon is known as the Chandler wobble, and Mars becomes only the second known planet that’s capable of manifesting the phenomenon. The wobble was named after the astronomer Seth Carlo Chandler, as he discovered the phenomenon over a century ago.
Alex Konopliv, who’s an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif, declared:
[The Chandler wobble] is a very small signal, typically,
You need many years and high-quality data to detect it.
Francis Nimmo, a planetary scientist from the University of California, Santa Cruz, stated:
It’s amazing that they can detect this,
It’s a testament to what you can do with a really long baseline of really good data.
Any data gathered about Mars is precious for humanity, considering that space agencies are taking more and more seriously the idea to send humans there someday. But as many preparations are needed if we truly want to be living on the Red Planet, one problem is the lack of enough oxygen on Mars. Luckily enough, NASA scientists have a solution by deploying MOXIE (Mars Oxygen in Situ Resource Utilization Experiment), although it’s only under the testing phase. MOXIE is expected to convert the carbon dioxide from Mars into oxygen.