Records from NASA Insight Lander Reveal Seismic Activities on Mars

by Ernest Thomas
Records from NASA Insight Lander Reveal Seismic Activities on Mars

Earth is not the only planet that experiences quakes. NASA’s Insight mission on Mars has made a note of many seismic activities on the Martian surface. The recorded evidence includes around 174 seismic activities, including twenty comparatively large quakes. Compared to the tremors on Earth, the Marsquakes are quite small. Still, the latest data could offer planetary researchers with more additional information regarding the inner surface of Mars. Monday’s edition of the journal Nature Geoscience and Nature Communications includes the initial results of the mission. NASA’s lander touched the Martian surface in 2018 through a supersonic parachute. After that, it had detected the first probable Mars quake in April 2019.

Philippe Lognonné, the principal investigator for one of the lander’s instruments, said many of the Insight-detected quakes are small enough that they likely would not be sensed if they occur on the Earth. He added Mars is a place where the seismic threat is relatively low, at least for the moment. Well, researchers have outlined the 24 largest quakes in the paper; among those, only 3-4 have extended a scale. Quakes with such magnitude on Earth may seem strong enough to be sensed as a boom on the ground. Still, they are not powerful enough to result in severe damage. As per the study, the Insight-detected Marsquakes can occur closer to the surface.

Thus, it seems that the Marsquakes tend to have origins much deeper in the planet, maybe around 30 to 50 km. Scientists say the deeper is the center of a seismic wave; the less shaking is sensed on the surface. Scientists say Mars does not have tectonic plates, in contrast to Earth. As a result, Marsquakes take place via a lengthy cooling process and other processes. An assessment of the quakes recorded by Insight has revealed that the upper region of the Mar’s crust, around six miles below the surface, is severely affected. Even more, it is another proof of the fracturing and quake activity of the planet. Besides, the latest proof of quakes on Mars reveals the functioning of NASA’s Insight lander. It has performed a wide-ranging assessment on the red planet and also revealed some surprising outcomes.

Apart from this, the lander includes equipment onboard specially-designed to collect data for up to two years. The seismometer, an instrument that measures quakes, has returned that interesting data regarding Mars in far less time. The scientists had expected the instrument would record larger Marsquakes that would have offered a comprehensive look at Mar’s interior. But it has not happened yet.

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