The first 'Marsquake' was detected by NASA

The first 'Marsquake' was detected by NASA

According to the space agency, SEIS has detected a "weak, but clearly seismic" quake.

The rumblings were detected by the InSight lander's SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) instrument, which the robot placed on the planet's surface past year.

While the rumble sounds like soft wind, scientists believe it came from within the red planet. There were four readings, of which one was confirmed to be a quake, said CNES.

InSight's mission is to identify the quakes that take place on the planet, with the aim to build a clearer picture of Mars's interior structure. It attempts to meet this objective through a number of instruments on board.

Members of the SEIS team hope to measure and detect more Marsquakes in the future.

InSight has the ability to grasp SEIS and place the instrument where it wants. The SEIS team has also picked up three additional signals of tremors, all of them weaker than the one now under their focus.

The finding "officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology!", said Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Additionally, slipping and sliding of rocks and collapsing structures on the surface also produce discernible quakes. He adds that it is exciting to finally have evidence that Mars is still active, seismic-wise.

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Scientists have been wondering for decades whether Mars is geologically active or not. It is the first mission to directly investigate the deep interior of a planet other than Earth. And a discovery this big in its first year is a promising start.

While earthquakes are primarily driven by tectonic plates (which are composed of both Earth's crust and the outer layer of its mantle), Mars doesn't have tectonic plates. Scientists suspect that the quakes are caused by the slow cooling of the planet's core. The InSight landers detected what is being called Marsquake.

Mars is not almost as geologically active as Earth and, like our moon, lacks tectonic plates.

While news of a marsquake is thrilling, the seismometer has a lot more listening to do.

Researchers on the project have analysed that the quake is more moon-like in nature than earth-like.

It is the first seismic signal detected on the surface of a planetary body other than the Earth and its Moon. The marsquake was similar. Because the speed and reflection of seismic waves varies based on the presence of different materials beneath the surface, scientists used moonquake data to learn the composition of the Moon's interior and even create computer models of its formation.

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