Internal structure of Mars, illustration

Internal structure of Mars, illustration

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Credit: CLAUS LUNAU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Internal structure of Mars, cutaway computer illustration. Mars is a rocky planet with a partially molten core of iron and iron sulphides (central sphere). Overlying the core is a thick mantle (orange), which underlies the crust (upper layer). The crust of Mars is around 100 kilometres thick, compared to the 10 to 70 kilometre-thick crust of Earth. The lack of a completely molten region around the core means that Mars does not generate a uniform strong magnetic field, which would have protected the planet's atmosphere from the solar wind. It is thought the atmosphere on Mars was stripped away after the core cooled.

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