NASA's InSight lander detects two new quakes on Mars

NASA's InSight lander detects two new quakes on Mars

InSight was the eighth spacecraft to have landed successfully on Mars, all of them operated by NASA.

NASA’s InSight spacecraft, the first robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of a distant world, has detected two sizable quakes on Mars.

NASA is investigating the ''Marsquakes'' of 3.3 and 3.1 temblors in a region called Cerebrus Fossae on the red planet, further supporting this notion that this location is seismically active.

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InSight has recorded over 500 earthquakes to date, but because of their clear signals, these are the four best quake records for probing the interior of the planet.

''Over the course of the mission, we’ve seen two different types of marsquakes: one that is more ‘Moon-like’ and the other, more ‘Earth-like,'' said Taichi Kawamura of France Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris which helped provide InSight's seismometer. All of the above quakes fell into the prior category.

InSight’s primary instrument is a French-built seismometer, designed to record the slightest vibrations from “marsquakes” and meteor impacts around the planet. The device, to be placed on the surface by the lander’s robot arm, is so sensitive it can measure a seismic wave just one-half the radius of a hydrogen atom.

John Clinton, a seismologist who InSights Marsquake Service at ETH Zurich said, “It’s wonderful to once again observe marsquakes after a long period of recording wind noise.”

InSight was the eighth spacecraft to have landed successfully on Mars, all of them operated by NASA.

The three-legged lander streaked into the thin Martian atmosphere at 12,300 miles (19,795 km) per hour and plunged 77 miles to the surface within seven minutes, slowed to a gentle touchdown by atmospheric friction, a giant parachute and retro rockets.

The stationary probe was programmed to pause for 16 minutes for the dust to settle, literally, around its landing site, before two disc-shaped solar panels were to be unfurled like wings to provide power to the spacecraft. But scientists did not expect to verify successful deployment of the solar arrays for at least several hours.

The 880-pound (360 kg) InSight - its name is short for Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, marks the 21st US-launched Mars mission, dating back to the Mariner fly-bys of the 1960s.

Nearly two dozen other Mars missions have been sent from other nations.

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