The first Marsquake has been detected

Katie Ramirez
April 24, 2019

The two experimental satellites not only relayed the good news in nearly real time, they sent back InSight's first snapshot of Mars just 4½ minutes after landing.

A dome-shaped probe known as SEIS landed on the surface of Mars in December after hitching a ride on NASA's InSight spacecraft.

A marsquake is like an quake, except it happens on the Red Planet.

The field of Martian seismology could shed light on how rocky planets formed.

The team hopes to be able to gather information about the activity at the centre of Mars, hopefully providing insight into its formation billions of years ago.

"If you were a Martian coming to explore Earth's interior like we are exploring Mars' interior, it wouldn't matter if you put down in the middle of Kansas or the beaches of Oahu", said Banerdt. "We're looking forward to sharing detailed results once we've had a chance to analyze them". The 81-mile long, 17-mile-wide (130-kilometer-long, 27-kilometer-wide) landing ellipse is on the western edge of a flat, smooth expanse of lava plain. "The seismic event is too small to provide useful data on the Martian interior, one of InSight's main objectives", CNES said. The only reason it's significant on Mars is because the planet is so quiet. In contrast, Earth's surface is quivering constantly from seismic noise created by oceans and weather. "An event of this size in southern California would be lost among dozens of tiny crackles that occur every day".

It is the first seismic signal detected on the surface of a planetary body other than the Earth and its Moon.

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Scientists want to study how seismic waves propagate through the planet to determine its structure and composition.

NASA's InSight lander may have detected its first quake on Mars, the space agency has announced. The lander is the first spacecraft designed specifically to study the deep interior of a distant world.

Three other apparent seismic signals were picked up by InSight on March 14, April 10 and April 11 but were even smaller and more ambiguous in origin, leaving scientists less certain they were actual marsquakes. It was a small quake - it wouldn't have even registered on Earth - but a major step for the lander's overall mission. Their seismic activity is instead driven by a cooling and contracting process that causes stress to build up and become strong enough to rupture the crust.

An image of InSight's seismometer taken on the 110th Martian day of the mission.

SEIS has surpassed the team's expectations in terms of its sensitivity.

The quake is the very first tremor, recorded on Mars, that came from the inside of the planet and was not caused by wind, impact of some stray space rock, or anything else. The SEIS team has also picked up three additional signals of tremors, all of them weaker than the one now under their focus.

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