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Mars lander picks up what is likely the first detected ‘marsquake’

Posted at 11:23 AM, Apr 24, 2019

NASA’s InSight lander has picked up a gentle rumble on Mars, believed to be the first marsquake ever detected.

InSight’s quake monitor recorded and measured the faint signal on April 6, and scientists announced the finding Tuesday.

While the rumble sounds like a soft wind, scientists believe it came from within the red planet. The French scientist in charge of the experiment, Philippe Lognonne, says it’s exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active. Mars is not nearly as geologically active as Earth and, like our moon, lacks tectonic plates.

Scientists are still analyzing the data, as well as three other even fainter seismic signals detected.

The French seismometer was placed on the Martian surface in December, a few weeks after the spacecraft landed.

This image shows InSight’s domed Wind and Thermal Shield, which covers its seismometer. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

 

The lander itself is designed to operate on the surface of Mars for two years, learning about the Martian interior as a way to boost our understanding of the formation of Mars and other rocky worlds, including Mercury, Venus, Earth and the moon.

InSight was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in May 2018.