NASA’s Insight has detected two significant earthquakes on Mars

This artist’s concept shows the Insight Lander, its sensors, cameras and equipment. Credit: NASA / JBL-Caltech

NASA’s Insight Lander has detected two strong, clear earthquakes that appeared at one point on Mars, called the Cerberus Foss – two strong earthquakes at the same location. The new earthquakes have magnitudes of 3.3 and 3.1; Previous earthquakes measured 3.6 and 3.5. Insight has recorded more than 500 earthquakes to date, but because of their clear signals, these are four of the best seismic records for studying the interior of the planet.


Studying Marscakes is a way for the Insight Science team to try to better understand the shield and center of Mars. This planet does not have tectonic plates like Earth, but it does have volcanic areas that can cause rumble. The March 7 and March 18 earthquakes add weight to the notion that the Cerberus fossa was the epicenter of seismic activity.

“During the mission, we saw two different types of marquees: one ‘moon-like’ and the other ‘earth-like’,” said Tichi Guamura of the French Institute of Physics to the Globe in Paris, which helped provide Insight’s seismic measurement and the Swiss research university ETH Distributes its data with Zurich: Earthquake waves travel directly across the planet, while earthquakes are highly dispersed; they fall somewhere between the marsupials. “Interestingly, Guamura continued,” These four major earthquakes coming from the Cerberus fossa are “like the Earth.”

The new earthquakes have something in common with Insight’s previous earthquakes, which occurred almost a full year before Mars (two Earth years): they occurred in the northern summer of Mars. Scientists had predicted that this would be the right time to hear earthquakes again, as the wind would calm down. Seismic testing, seismic testing for interior structures (SEIS), is sensitive even if it is covered by a dome-shaped shield to prevent it And prevent it from getting too cold, causing the air to vibrate enough to cover some more marquees. Last winter, Insight could not detect any earthquakes.

“It’s great to see the Marquees again after a long time of recording wind noise,” said John Clinton, seismologist who leads Insight’s Mars service at ETH Zurich. “One Tuesday year, we are now very fast in classifying seismic activity on the Red Planet.”

Excellent detection

The wind may have been quieter, but scientists still hope to improve their “listening” ability. Temperatures near the Insight lander can vary from about minus 148 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 100 degrees Celsius) at night to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) during the day. These extreme temperature variations can cause the cable connecting the seismometer to expand and contract, resulting in sounds and sharpness in the data.

So the mission team is trying to protect the cable to some extent from the weather. They started using the scoop at the end of Insight Drop the soil on top of the domed air and heat shield, allowing it to trickle into the cable. Allow the soil to move as close to the shield as possible without interfering with the ground with the shield seal. Burial of seismic tether is actually one of NASA’s next-stage objectives, which NASA recently extended to two years until December 2022.

Despite the earthquake-shaking winds, Insight’s solar panels are covered in dust, and run low on energy as they move away from the Martian sun. Energy levels are expected to improve after July, when the planet begins to approach the sun again. Until then, this task will turn off the lander’s tools in succession, so that Insight can fall asleep and periodically check its health and communicate with the earth. The team hopes to keep the seismometer continuing for another month or two before temporarily shutting it down.


Data from Insight reveal the size of Mars


Quote: NASA’s Insight detects two significant earthquakes on Mars (2021, April 1) 1 April 2021 https://phys.org/news/2021-04-nasa-insight-sizable-quakes-mars.html

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Sophia Harrison

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I'm Sophia Harrison working as a part-time staff at the Costco since the past year until I become as an author at the iron blade, hope I can use my experiences with the supermarkets here.

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