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earthquake! NASA’s InSight detects two major earthquakes on Mars



The magnitude 3.3 and 3.1 earthquakes originated in an area called Cerberus Fossae, which further supports the idea that the location is seismically active.

NASAThe InSight lander found two strong, clear earthquakes that originated from Mars Named Cerberus Fossae (Cyprus Fossae)-the place where I have seen two strong earthquakes earlier in the mission. The magnitudes of the new earthquakes are 3.3 and 3.1

respectively. The previous earthquakes were 3.6 and 3.5 magnitudes. InSight has recorded more than 500 earthquakes so far, but due to the clear signal, these are the four best seismic records for exploring the interior of the planet.

Researching earthquakes is a way for the InSight scientific team to seek to deepen their understanding of the mantle and core of Mars. The planet does not have tectonic plates like the Earth, but it does have areas of volcanic activity that may cause rumbles. The earthquakes of March 7 and March 18 deepened the idea that Cerberus Fossae is the center of seismic activity.

“During this mission, we have seen two different types of earthquakes: one is more like the Moon, and the other is more like the Earth,” said Taichi Kawamura of the French Institute of Geophysics. Paris helped provide InSight’s seismograph and distributed its data with the Swiss research university ETH Zurich. Seismic waves propagate more directly through the earth, while seismic waves tend to be very scattered. The earthquake is somewhere in between. Kawamura continued: “Interestingly, these four major earthquakes from Cerberus Fossae are all’earth-like’.”

NASA Mars InSight deployment instrument

This image shows NASA’s InSight spacecraft with its instruments deployed on the surface of Mars. Image source: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The new earthquakes have something in common with InSight’s previous highest seismic events, which occurred almost the entire Martian year (two Earth years) before: they occurred in the northern summer of Mars. Scientists predict that as the wind will become calmer, this will once again be an ideal time to listen to earthquakes. The seismograph called SEIS is sensitive enough that even if it is covered by a dome-shaped protective cover to block the wind and prevent it from overcooling, the wind will still cause enough vibration to obscure some earthquakes. In the past northern winter, InSight could not detect any earthquakes at all.

Seismologist John Clinton said: “It’s great to observe earthquakes again after recording wind noise for a long time.” “In the first year of Mars’s eruption, we are now faster in characterizing seismic activity on the Red Planet. many.”

Better detection

The wind may have calmed down, but scientists still hope to further improve its “monitoring” capabilities. The temperature near the InSight lander may swing from minus 148 degrees or so (Minus 100 degrees Celsius) At night, it reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) during the day. These extreme temperature changes can cause the cables connecting the seismometer to the lander to expand and contract, resulting in sound bursts and data spikes.

Therefore, the task force has begun to try to partially isolate the cable from the weather. They first used a spoon at the end of the InSight robotic arm to drip soil onto the wind and heat shield of the dome, and then drip it onto the cable. In this way, the soil can be as close as possible to the shielding layer without disturbing the sealing of the shielding layer and the ground. Burying the seismic zone is actually one of the goals of the next phase of the mission. NASA recently extended the mission by two years to December 2022.

Despite the strong wind blowing the seismograph, InSight’s solar panels are still covered in dust, and the power is decreasing as Mars moves away from the sun. After July, when the planets begin to approach the sun again, energy levels are expected to increase. Prior to this, the mission will first shut down the lander’s instruments so that InSight can sleep and wake up periodically to check its operation and communicate with the earth. The team hopes to turn on the seismograph for another month or two before it must be temporarily shut down.

More information about the task

Joint police Managed InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Department. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, which is managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Aerospace in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise platform and lander, and provided support for the spacecraft’s mission.

Many European partners, including the French National Center for Space Research (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. The principal researchers of CNES and IPGP (Paris Geophysical Institute) provided NASA with SEIS instruments. IPGP contributed a lot of funds to SEIS; Max Planck Institute for Solar Energy Systems (MPS) in Germany; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in Switzerland; Imperial College London And Oxford University in the UK; and JPL. InSight’s Marsquake Service is a collaborative ground service department led by the ETH Zurich and also includes seismologists on duty from IPG Paris. University of Bristol And Imperial College London. SEIS and APSS operations are led by CNES SISMOC and supported by CAB. SEIS data is formatted and distributed by IPG Paris Mars SEIS data service. DLR provided the heat flow and physical properties software package (HP3) instrument, among which the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika of Poland made significant contributions. The Center for Astronomy and Biology (CAB) in Spain provided temperature and wind sensors.




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