Friday, April 26, 2019, 5:00 p.m. – Did it finally happen? NASA's InSight lander may have detected his first marsquake!
InSight, NASA's newest landing on Mars, which landed on the Fourth Planet from the Sun at the end of November 2018, has been established for months to detect what is known as "marsquakes".
Now, according to the data he has sent to NASA, it seems that he could actually have detected one!
"The first InSight readings continue with the science that began with NASA's Apollo missions," said Bruce Banerdt, Principal Investigator of InSight, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), according to a press release from NASA published on Tuesday. "We've been collecting background noise so far, but this first event officially starts a new field: Martian seismology!"
Has this NASA landing vehicle picked up its first MARSQUAKE? LISTEN IN
In the video, the first sound we hear is the vibrations caused by the air that flows on the ground. After that it is the sign of what is probably a true marsquake. Finally, the seismometer picked up the vibrations of the robotic arm movement of the lander. The vibrations have been processed and converted into sound for us to listen to.
According to NASA, the quake was detected by InSight's Seismic Experiment for the Structure of the Interior (SEIS) instrument (shown below), on April 6, 2019, which is the 128th day on Mars since InSight landed ( Sun 128). Although the seismometer has already treated us to the sounds of the Martian wind, caused by the air that flows over the solar panels of the lander, this seems to be the first recorded vibration that probably comes from the interior of the planet.
The SIS instrument of InSight (center) rests on the Martian surface in this photo taken on April 26, 2019 (Sun 146). Covered by a white protective dome, this instrument waits patiently to pick up any vibrations through the floor. The other primary instrument of InSight, the package of physical and heat properties (HP ^ 3) is visible on the left, as is the edge of the landing platform. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Although NASA says that the most sensitive detectors of SEIS detected three other vibration groups, on March 14 (Sun 105), April 10 (Sun 132) and April 11 (Sun 133), they were much weaker than on April 6. (Sun 128) event.
"The Martian Sun 128 event is exciting because its size and longer duration match the profile of the Moon's earthquakes detected on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions," said Lori Glaze, director of the Division of Planetary Science at the headquarters of NASA, in the press release. During the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s, seismometers placed on the surface by astronauts were able to record earthquakes on the Moon, showing that they were seismically active.
It is not known, however, what caused these four marsquakes. The mission team is still trying to determine its source. In addition, the tremors collected so far do not seem to be enough to give scientists any meaningful information about the interior of Mars. However, as more are detected, and especially larger ones, it will allow mission scientists to slowly build a profile of what Mars is like inside it.
(DO NOT MISS: Life on Mars? NASA InSight can help solve this mystery)
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?
Here on Earth, earthquakes occur as the various tectonic plates that make up the surface of the planet move and move, pushing or crushing one another. When scientists began to record the vibrations caused by these tremors, they discovered something extraordinary. In fact, they could use those vibrations to give us a good idea of what the interior of our planet was like.
The interior of the earth. Credit: Kelvinsong / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
As for Mars, we've been sending space ships and robots for decades. So far, they have only explored the space around the planet, the planet's atmosphere and its surface.
Some spacecraft in orbit have used a ground penetrating radar to see a short distance below the surface, safe. Scientists can build a pretty good model of what they think is the interior of Mars probably as of course What the inside of the planet. Really It seems that, however, it is still technically unknown.
That's why NASA sent InSight.
InSight, which means Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigation, Geodesy and Heat Transport, brought three things to fulfill its mission.
- a seismometer called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS),
- a heat probe, called the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP ^ 3), and
- A weather station, to detect temperature, wind and air pressure.
SIX is there to detect tremors that pbad through the surface of Mars. These tremors may be caused by the movement of material within the planet, or the wind that blows along the ground, or may be due to meteoroids hitting the surface. HP ^ 3, once it is fully deployed, will take the temperature of the planet and tell us how fast Mars is cooling. The weather station is there, mainly, so that scientists can distinguish the difference between the real marsquakes and the "noise" caused by the wind and the changes in pressure and temperature (but it will also give us valuable information about the climate in Elysium Planitia).
With the data of these three, we should get a clearer picture of Mars, right up to its core.
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