NASA’s Insight Lander on Mars has captured the first quake on the Red Planet (Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech)
NASA's robotic Mars InSight lander has recorded a likely "marsquake" for the first time ever, the US space agency said. This is the first recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind, NASA said in a statement. The lander recorded a faint seismic signal in what is being called a “marsquake”. NASA on Tuesday released an audio of the quake showing sounds howling Martian wind. “On April 6, the lander measured and recorded audio of faint seismic signal, the first- ever recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet,” the official blog read.
“Detecting these tiny quakes required a huge feat of engineering. On Earth, high-quality seismometers often are sealed in underground vaults to isolate them from changes in temperature and weather,” NASA stated in a statement.
“The Martian Sol 128 event is exciting because its size and longer duration fit the profile of moonquakes detected on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions,” said Lori Glaze, Planetary Science Division director at NASA Headquarters.
“We’ve been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology,” said InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
The detection of the marsquake shows that the lander's Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) seismometer is working, though the tremor was too small to reveal anything about the Martian interior. But mission scientists expect the lander to detect more — and bigger — quakes.
"We expect to get one quake larger by a factor 10 approximately every 5-10 quakes," Philippe Lognonné, a professor of geophysics and planetary science at the University of Paris Diderot and the leader of the seismometer team, said in an email. "These larger quakes will be those enabling us to make the full science we want to make on the internal structure, and which will tell us the crust thickness and core size. Not this one."