'Marsquake': NASA's InSight Lander records first tremor on the Red Planet
Washington, Apr 24: The American space agency's InSight lander on Tuesday detected the first known seismic tremor on red planet, Mars.
It was roughly equal to a 2.5 magnitude earthquake.
The faint seismic signal, what scientists are labelling a 'marsquake', was recorded on April 6 by NASA's InSight Lander spacecraft, and scientists are still examining the exact cause of the signal, a statement from NASA said.
The InSight Mars lander, launched in May 2018, landed on Mars on 26 November 2018 and deployed a seismometer called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) on 19 December 2018 to search for marsquakes and analyze Mars's internal structure.
Even if no seismic events are detected, the seismometer is expected to be sensitive enough to detect possibly several dozen meteors causing airbursts in Mars's atmosphere per year, as well as meteorite impacts.
It will also investigate how the Martian crust and mantle respond to the effects of meteorite impacts, which gives clues to the planet's inner structure.
What is a marsquake?
A marsquake is a theoretical quake which, much like an earthquake, would be a shaking of the surface or interior of the planet Mars as a result of the sudden release of energy in the planet's interior, such as the result of plate tectonics, which most quakes on Earth originate from, or possibly from hotspots such as Olympus Mons or the Tharsis Montes.
The detection and analysis of marsquakes could be informative to probing the interior structure of Mars, as well as identifying whether any of Mars's many volcanoes continue to be volcanically active or not.
You can now listen to the sound of a Martian earthquake here: