NASA’s InSight Mars Platform recently detected an earthquake, the largest Martian earthquake recorded to date. It is not the first earthquake that has been observed on the red planet, but it may be one of the last times that the NASA probe can collect data from the InSight probe. Experts hope that this earthquake will allow them to know a little more about the bowels of Mars.
Scale 5 earthquake.
A scale 5 earthquake would be considered intermediate magnitude here on Earth. However, it is a considerable earthquake for the red planet, and it is the largest earthquake recorded on another planet. To date, the record had been captured by the same probe, with a magnitude of 4.4. The absence of earthquakes that would be considered of great intensity should not be misleading, InSight has recorded a total of 1,313 earthquakes since it arrived on Mars in November 2018.
When size matters.
Even so, this movement of earth is of great help to scientists. As explained by the agency itself, this event will provide data to the research teams for several years. The seismic information will be used to find out more about the geological layers that make up the interior of Mars, but it can also be of help in obtaining greater knowledge about the internal characteristics of other rocky bodies such as the Moon. It can even help us better understand our own planet.
The Insight mission and the SEIS.
insight departed from earth aboard an Atlas V rocket in May 2018. The lander It consists of a static platform that has a crane to deposit some of its experiments on the Martian surface. One of them, seismograph SIX, created by CNES, the “French CSIC”. The seismograph is protected from the dust and wind from Mars by a dome.
InSight has been a complicated mission. In 2020 it was considered impossible for it to achieve one of its objectives, the drilling of the Martian soil. In fact, neither the Martian rock nor its atmosphere have made things easy for this probe. The accumulation of dust on its solar panels has meant that the ship cannot optimize its use despite having carried out cleaning tasks that have only managed to limit the problem.
Several storms made the problem worse and the probe has had to enter hibernation mode three times, in June 2021 and most recently in January and May of this year. However, these blackouts and the drilling fiasco came after NASA declared the main goals of the mission fulfilled in 2020.
InSight is already in the extension of its mission but in fact NASA announced that it would remain active until at least December 2022, as long as its energy supply allows it. This is the shortest of eight extensions announced by NASA in recent weeks. NASA has announced an update in this regard, but we will have to wait for next week to know what it will consist of.
Image | POT