NASA InSight Lander Unravels Mysteries Of Mars Interiors

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Marsquakes, similar to our Earthquakes, have been recorded for a while now. So far, NASA's InSight lander has detected hundreds of such marsquakes, where nearly 20 of these tremors were considered to be significant. Newly acquired data about these marsquakes reveals more information about the interiors of the red planet.

Marsquakes: What Do We Know
 

Marsquakes: What Do We Know

Compared to earthquakes, marsquakes were considered to be minuscule where we wouldn't have noticed it on Earth. The results of the mission were published in the journals Nature Geoscience and Nature Communications. The paper discusses 24 large quakes that reached a magnitude of 3 or 4, which would be a big rumble on Earth without much damage.

"Mars is a place where we can probably say the seismic hazard is extremely low. At least at this time," said Philippe Lognonné, principal investigator for one of the lander's instruments in a press conference. The key difference here is that these marsquakes tend to originate far deeper in the surface, roughly 30 to 50 km.

Understanding Marsquakes

Understanding Marsquakes

The researchers hope to find quakes on a larger scale to gain a more detailed look at the interiors of the planet. The scientists point out that the general cause of the marsquakes is the long-term cooling of the planet. Comparatively, Mars' interiors have been cooled down since it was formed, unlike the Earth. The report suggests that as Mars continues to cool, it contracts and brittle crust of the planet cracks, which causes the shuddering.

However, the specific cause of each quake remains unknown. However, NASA has spent a lot of time measuring the quakes. The published papers dive into the details to discuss data collected from 174 marsquakes collected before September 2019. Since then, InSight has detected about 450 rumblings and NASA notes that the vast majority of these are likely quakes.

What Do We Learn
 

What Do We Learn

Some of the other sensors on the InSight were also continuously working, where one detected thousands of whirlwinds near the land. Another sensor recorded strong magnetic signals coming from underground rocks. A self-hammering probe on the InSight called the Mole, however, hasn't been lucky to record the interior temperature.

The published reports reveal that there's still much to know about Mars. As NASA gears up for the manned mission to the Moon and eventually to Mars, the data flow will certainly continue to help with the missions. Insight is scheduled to operate for another year to keep sending information back to Earth.

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