October 5, 2022

NASA’s InSight lander just detected the biggest quake on Mars

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The NASA InSight Lander has detected the largest earthquake ever found on another planet – a magnitude 5 earthquake that hit the Red Planet on May 4.

“Ever since we put our seismometer down in December 2018, we’ve been waiting for the ‘big ones,'” said Bruce Benradt, principal investigator at Insight at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“This earthquake will definitely provide a view of the planet like no other. Scientists will analyze this data to learn new things about Mars in the coming years.”

Since the stationary spacecraft landed on Mars in 2018, InSight has detected more than 1,313 earthquakes. So far, the largest magnitude was 4.2 and it happened on August 25, 2021.

Volcanoes on Mars can still be active.

Earthquakes on Mars are like the earthquakes we experience on Earth, when it comes to why they occur on every planet is a little different. On Earth, the event will be a moderate earthquake – but it has reached a new record of seismic activity found by scientists studying Mars.

When we experience earthquakes, it is because the tectonic plates on the earth are moving, moving and grinding against each other. So far, Earth is the only planet that has these plates.

The structure of the crust of Mars

So how do earthquakes happen on Mars? Think of the crust of Mars as a single giant temple plate. This crust causes defects and breakdowns as the planet shrinks as it cools. It puts pressure on the Martian crust, pulls it and breaks it.

When seismic waves from Mars pass through different materials in the interior of Mars, it allows scientists to study the structure of the planet. This will help them understand the mysterious interior of Mars and apply this research to find out how other rocky planets, including ours, are formed.

An example shows NASA's Insight Lander sitting on Mars, beneath which is the planet's surface layer.
Lander’s incredibly sensitive seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Infrastructure, is capable of detecting Marcos hundreds and thousands of miles away. Data collected so far by InSight Revealed new details about the unknown. Martin Core and Mantle.

The InSight science team is continuing to analyze earthquakes to better understand their origins, sources and what they can reveal about the Red Planet.

Other world weather forecasts could help future Mars explorers access this important resource.

The mission faces new challenges as Mars enters the winter season when more dust rises into the air. These floating particles reduce the amount of sunlight needed to charge the solar panel, which powers InSight, which is currently working on an expansion mission that will run through December.

On May 7, Lander went into safe mode when his energy level dropped, causing him to shut down everything except the essentials. The team estimates that this could increase in the future as dust levels rise.

Insight’s constant flow of data to scientists on Earth will cease when solar cells will no longer be able to generate as much power as they could by the end of this year. But researchers will continue to study InSight’s discoveries for decades to come to know more about the neighbors of our mysterious planets.



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