Advertisement

NASA Just Recorded A 'Marsquake' For The First Time

NASA believes it has detected 'Marsquakes' on the Red Planet for the first time,

The faint seismic signals were detected by NASA's Mars InSight lander on April 6, or on day (Sol) 128 of the Martian mission.

Scientists believe this seismic signal came from inside the planet, instead of forces from above the surface, such as wind.

“InSight’s first readings carry on the science that began with NASA’s Apollo missions,” principal investigator Bruce Banerdt said.

“We’ve been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology!”

This image, taken March 19, 2019 by a camera on NASA’s Mars InSight lander, shows the rover’s domed Wind and Thermal Shield, which covers its seismomete. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

While the exact cause of the seismic signals are unknown, they are remarkably similar to quakes detected on the moon.

“The Martian Sol 128 event is exciting because its size and longer duration fit the profile of moonquakes detected on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions,” NASA's planetary science division director Lori Glaze said.

READ MORE: Touchdown! NASA InSight Has Landed On Mars

READ MORE: Massive Lake Of Liquid Water Detected Under Mars' Surface

Artist impression: InSight Lander with Solar Arrays Deployed. Photo: NASA.

The InSight lander planted the seismometer on the planet's surface on December 19 and has detected other smaller signals, NASA said.

Events on March 14, April 10 and April 11 were also detected, but are said to be "ambiguous" in origin.

“We’ve been waiting months for a signal like this,” the  Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris' Philippe Lognonné said.

“It's so exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active. We're looking forward to sharing detailed results once we've had a chance to analyse them.”

Image: Getty Images
What Exactly Is A Marsquake?

On Earth, quakes are caused by the movement of tectonic plates.

But unlike here, Mars doesn't have tectonic plates. Quakes on Mars -- and the moon -- are caused by the cooling and contraction of the surface over time.

Eventually, enough stress builds up that the crust breaks, causing a quake.