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Home / Science / Tremors on Mars detected for first time – but they're not caused by geologic activity

Tremors on Mars detected for first time – but they're not caused by geologic activity



Since NASA's InSight lander touched down on Mars at the end of last year, the plucky little surface sample has failed to be carefully prepared so that it may well be on a marsquakes basis – a neologism for earthquakes that occur on Mars , rather than earth, as you probably guessed. Observations of marsquakes wants to help determine what's going on inside Mars, and to what extent it is still a geologically active world. We know Mars was very geologically active in the past; Notably, it has been the tallest mountain of any planet in the solar system.

While InSight has not heard of earth-shaking marsquakes yet, a Science Magazine interview with Philippe Lognonné, a planetary seismologist at Paris Diderot University who manages the team that runs the seismometer, revealed that the lander's instrument has detected a different kind of rumbling known as microseisms.

"We do not believe these signals are coming from Mars," Lognonné said.

According to Science Magazine, the new noise is caused by low frequency pressure waves from atmospheric winds. Conversely, on Earth, microseisms are caused by the ocean, storms and tides.

In addition to the seismometer, NASA's InSight wants to rely on the Heat Flow and Physical Property Package (HP3) instrument, which will burrow nearly 1

6 feet into the ground , and help scientists get a better understanding of how much heat is flowing out of the body of the planet. Unfortunately, in early March the HP3 has reached a roadblock during testing

"The team has decided to take the hammering out of the way for overcoming the obstacle, "HP3 Principal Investigator Tilman Spohn of DLR wrote in a blog post.

InSight's other instruments have been trophies. Indeed, since mid-February, InSight has been issuing weather reports from Mars, too.

"It gives you the sense of visiting an alien place," Don Banfield of Cornell University, who leads InSight's weather science, said in a statement.

Specifically, the Auxiliary Payload Subsystem (APSS) is what lets InSight provide more frequent information than any previous mission to Mars.

"APSS will help us filter out environmental noise in the seismic data and know when we are seeing a marsquake and when we are not, "Banfield said.

Ultimately, InSight's science wants to help contribute to an overall picture of the history

"InSight wants to study the interior of Mars and wants to teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement: "The best of NASA is to come, and it's coming soon."


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