Now You Can Listen to Marsquakes

Katie Ramirez
October 4, 2019

Scientists want to study how the seismic waves of these quakes move through the planet's interior, revealing the deep inner structure of Mars for the first time.

The instrument was designed by NASA to listen to the marsquake.

NASA chief scientist Jim Green, says we're just years away from finding life on Mars, but the world is not ready for the "revolutionary" implications of the discovery as two Mars-bound rovers -from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA)- are scheduled to launch next year and will land on the red planet by March 2021 and one or both could find evidence of life within months. After first recording a odd, possible Marsquake this past April, the experiment has now counted at least 21 quakes among 100 vibrational signals. To date, more than 100 events have been detected, and only a fifth are considered to have been Marsquakes. That includes wind gusts, InSight's robotic arm moving around and "dinks and donks", friction caused by parts inside the seismometer moving against each other as the temperature changes.

So far, the most prominent sounds occurred on SOL 173 and SOL 235, which can be best heard using a pair of earphones.

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SEIS has no trouble identifying quiet quakes, but its sensitive ear means scientists have lots of other noises to filter out. "I've been anxious about that because I think we're close to finding it and making some announcements", he told Great Britain's The Telegraph. Some of these include the sounds produced by earthquakes on the Red Planet, which are also known as marsquakes. "You're imagining what's really happening on Mars as InSight sits on the open landscape".

The recordings released by NASA suggest that the planet's crust is similar to a mix between the Earth's and the moon's. On Earth, time seals fractures in the crust as water fills them with new minerals, allowing sound waves to travel uninterrupted through old cracks.

The InSight team is always on the hunt for quakes, which appear more prevalent in the twilight hours.

"It's been exciting, especially in the beginning, hearing the first vibrations from the lander", said Imperial College London's Constantinos Charalambous, who helped provide the audio recordings.

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