How do scientists use the subtle variations in a planet’s gravity field to map its internal structure and distribution of mass?

76 viewsOtherPlanetary Science

How do scientists use the subtle variations in a planet’s gravity field to map its internal structure and distribution of mass?

In: Planetary Science

Anonymous 0 Comments

Mass makes gravity. If a planet has slightly higher gravity in one area, then that must be because that area is denser, it has more mass in that spot. This means that area must be made of something different than the surrounding area, like iron instead of silica. By carefully mapping a whole world’s gravity, you can find all the areas where it is more or less dense. Then, you figure out what those areas could reasonably be made out of, based on what the planet itself is made out of, and an understanding of how planets come to be.