Mars-quakes – October 2, 2019
NASA’s Insight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission launched from Earth on May 5, 2018. It successfully landed on a region of Mars called Elysium Planitia 6 months later, on November 26, 2018. This journey from Earth to Mars? 300 million miles!
The objectives of the mission included placing a seismometer (SEIS) on the surface, in order to measure seismic activity and provide accurate 3D models of the planet’s interior; and measure internal planetary heat flow using a probe called HP3 to study Mars’ early geological history and evolution. This could bring new understanding of how the Solar System’s terrestrial planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars – and Earth’s Moon formed and evolved.
The seismometer first recorded activity in April 2019. Since then, more than 100 events have been recorded with 21 of them estimated to be “marsquakes.” The largest quake detected was a magnitude 3.7! But Mars doesn’t have plate tectonics like Earth, so, what is this? Martian quakes are caused by cooling and contraction, which create stress fractures on the crust, rather than plate motion.
Have a listen here: https://mars.nasa.gov/…/nasas-insight-hears-peculiar-soun…/…