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Marsquake recorded for first time byInSight lander

Date: 26 April 2019 Tags: Space

NASA's robotic InSight lander has recorded a Mars Quake for the first time ever on the red planet. The quake was detected by seismometer called ‘SEIS’ placed by InSight had on Martian surface in December 2018.

Note: It is not first extra-terrestrial seismic activity detected by scientists. Five seismometers already have operated on Moon between 1969 and 1977 and measured thousands of moonquakes.

Cause of MarsQuake

Scientists still are examining data to determine exact cause of seismic activities. They believe that seismic activity on Mars is related to ongoing cooling of interior of the planet, which is causing the planet to contract.  This is resulting in build-up of stress, which is released by break in crust that generates earthquake.

Similar process is expected to occur on the Moon, but like Moon, Mars does not have tectonic plates and therefore is expected to be much quieter in terms of seismic activity than Earth.

Significance

This is the first recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside Mars as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind. Studying Mars seismology will provide important information about interior of planet and how it was formed.

NASA’s InSight Lander Mission

InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the planet Mars.

It was manufactured by Lockheed Martin and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The mission launched in May 2018 and successfully landed at Elysium Planitia on Mars on November 2018. Its primary goal is to gain insights into the interior of Mars

InSight's objectives

  • Place seismometer, called SEIS, on the surface of Mars to measure seismic activity.
  • Provide accurate 3D models of Mars's interior.
  • Measure internal heat flow using heat probe-HP3 to study Mars' early geological evolution.

Findings of InSight mission will help in better understanding of how Solar System's terrestrial planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars – and Earth's Moon form and evolve more than 4 billion years ago, as well as rocky exoplanets.