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New data gleaned from the magnetic sensor aboard NASA's InSight spacecraft is offering an unprecedented close-up of magnetic fields on Mars.

In a study published today in Nature Geoscience, scientists reveal that the magnetic field at the InSight landing site is ten times stronger than anticipated, and fluctuates over time-scales of seconds to days.

"One of the big unknowns from previous satellite missions was what the magnetization looked like over small areas," said lead author Catherine Johnson, a professor at the University of British Columbia and senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. "By placing the first magnetic sensor at the surface, we have gained valuable new clues about the interior structure and upper atmosphere of Mars that will help us understand how it -- and other planets like it -- formed."

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Category: Science