• search
For Quick Alerts
ALLOW NOTIFICATIONS  
For Daily Alerts

NASA's InSight lander records hundreds of marsquakes on red planet

By PTI
|

New York, Feb 25: NASA's InSight lander which touched down on the Martian equator in November last year, has revealed secrets about the Red Planet's weather patterns, including details about its surface tornadoes, and the steady, rumble of low-frequency sounds on the planet, a new study says.

The research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, noted that Mars experiences strong daily pressure and temperature fluctuations, stronger than on the Earth.

NASAs InSight lander helps decode Martian weather

"The atmosphere is so thin that it can heat up and cool down much faster than on Earth. This is entirely new territory we are exploring," said Don Banfield, lead author of the study from Cornell University in the US.

New mission to take first peek at Sun's north and south poles: NASA

The researchers noted that about a month after landing, InSight endured a large dust storm -- a periodic global event on Mars which, they said, could dramatically change the Red Planet's weather and climate.

The scientists noted daily changing winds controlled by the seasonal freezing and thawing of the carbon dioxide in the Martian polar caps. InSight's onboard equipments included a seismometer for detecting Mars' quakes, sensors for gauging wind and air pressure, a magnetometer for measuring the planet's magnetic forces, and a probe designed to take the planet's temperature, the American space agency had said in a statement.

Banfield and his team assessed measurements taken by InSight and detected atmospheric gravity waves, which are oscillations of air molecules similar to how water wavelets form when a pebble is dropped in a puddle. They said such gravity waves on the Earth can create linear rows of rolled "morning glory" clouds -- white, puffy clouds that look like lofty jelly rolls. "We're still working to understand what these waves can teach us about Mars," Banfield said.

The scientists also observed "infrasound" on the Martian atmosphere, which are pressure oscillations below the frequency of 10 Hertz (Hz). They said these are low rumbling oscillations below what the human ear can detect.

"We expected infrasound would exist, but this is the first direct measurement," Banfield said. "It's still mysterious as to exactly what causes the signals we've heard, but we'll keep studying," he said.

The research team also found vortices, known as "dust devils", which are small whirlwinds forming into tiny tornadoes, caused by wind shear and convection near the surface. Banfield speculated that these could be the cause of Mars' constant dustiness.

NASA's planet hunting satellite finds Earth-sized world in 'Goldilocks zone'

"We have seen the pressure signature of thousands of dust devils, and we have tried to take images at the right times of day. We've caught absolutely no dust devils on camera," Banfield said. "Other landers have more effortlessly imaged dust devils, so it's surprising that we haven't even captured an image of one," he added.

For Daily Alerts
Get Instant News Updates
Enable
x
Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Done
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more
X