On April 6th, the first marsquake ever detected took place. NASA’s Insight lander, the first mission sent to study the planet’s deep interior, observed the first faint rumble on Mars, on its 128th day on the planet’s surface, with its SEIS instrument. The seismometer was installed on the surface at the end of last year, and its primary purpose is to collect information on the Martian interior.
Detecting the First Marsquake is a Crucial Achievement
The source of the trembling is believed to be below the surface. The Paris Institute of Earth Physics is leading the research.
Representatives of the institute announced their thrill to record the first proof of Mars’ seismical activity, as they have been expecting this type of signal for quite a few months now. Mars, much like our moon, does not have tectonic plates, so this event is significant for future studies. Scientists suspect that the quakes are caused by the slow cooling of the planet’s core.
What Does This Event Mean For Future Studies?
Witnessing the detection of the first marsquake, scientists of NASA expressed that this episode follows the steps of the Apollo mission 50 years ago when the astronauts left seismometers on the lunar surface that have since measured several moonquakes. Using the analyzed data collected from studying marsquakes, scientists will work towards discovering how rocky planets, including Earth, were created.
The seismometer is not NASA’s InSight’s only instrument on Mars. Their other research device, “the Mole” is engineered to drill towards the center of the planet, to measure its internal temperature. Unfortunately, the instrument got stuck and only managed to dig through about 50 centimeters of the surface.
“It’s great to finally have a sign that there’s still seismic activity on Mars,” stated Philippe Lognonne from Paris’ Institut de Physique du Globe, and one of the researchers who conduct the InSight’s SEIS instrument. “We’ve waited for our first Martian quake for months,” he added. Below, you can hear how the marsquake sounds like.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca