The “big one” that everyone feared? The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) detected the “earthquake” (marsquake) stronger observed so far on another planet: of magnitude 5, it shook Mars on May 4.
In a statement, NASA explained that the movement was detected by InSight Mars and with it there are more than 1,313 earthquakes detected since the probe landed on Mars last November.
Until now, the largest earthquake recorded by InSight Mars was that of August 25, 2021, which had a magnitude of 4.2.
While it’s true that a magnitude 5 quake may seem moderately intense to humans, it’s close to the upper limit of what scientists expected to see on Mars during Earthquake. InSight missiondetailed the statement, which indicates that the scientific team will study this movement in depth in order to offer details such as its location, the nature of its origin and what it could tell us about the interior of Mars.
Read also: This is how sunrises are on Mars, NASA shares first images
“Since we installed our seismometer in December 2018, we’ve been waiting for ‘the big one,'” Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, who directs, said in the statement. The mission. “This earthquake will surely provide a view of the planet like no other. Scientists will analyze this data to learn new things about Mars in the years to come.”
InSight Mars was able to detect the earthquake thanks to a highly sensitive seismometer, provided by the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) of France to study the deep interior of the planet. As seismic waves pass through or reflect off material in the crust, mantle and core of Mars, they change into shapes that seismologists can study to determine the depth and composition of these layers, the statement detailed.
NASA reported that this large earthquake occurs at a time when InSight faces new challenges with its solar panels, which power the mission. “As the InSight Mars location enters winter, there is more dust in the air, reducing available sunlight. On May 7, the available power of the “landing” module fell just below the limit that activates safe mode, where the spacecraft suspends all but the most essential functions. This reaction is designed to protect the module from “landing” and can reoccur as the available power slowly decreases. After the module completed its primary mission in late 2020 and met its original science goals, NASA extended the mission through December 2022.”
Read also: NASA: With successful results, explorations on Mars and the Moon continue for three more years
InSight Mars is a mission launched in 2018 with the aim of placing a geophysical robot equipped with high-tech instruments to study the “pulse” of the interior and subsoil of the Red Planet.
In 2019 it detected an earthquake for the first time.