We Hear You Mars: First Ever 'Marsquake' Detected on the Red Planet

The seismic tremor is estimated to be roughly equal to a 2.5 magnitude earthquake.

Scientists revealed that they may have detected the first 'Marsquake,' a seismic tremor coming from inside the red planet. The tremor was recorded by NASA’s robotic probe InSight, and it marks the first time a likely seismological tremor has been captured on another planet.

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Martian seismology

“InSight’s first readings carry on the science that began with the Apollo missions," said InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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

The captured rumble was estimated to be roughly equal to a 2.5 magnitude earthquake. It was recorded on April 6th which was the lander’s 128th Martian day (Sol 128).

The scientists revealed that three other signals, which occurred on 14 March (Sol 105), 10 April (Sol 132) and 11 April (Sol 133), could also have been of seismic origin. These signals, however, were a lot weaker than the one recorded on Sol 128.

The signals were detected by InSight’s French-built seismometer called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS). The meter is sensitive enough to measure a seismic wave just one-half the radius of a hydrogen atom.

First Marsquake

“We've been waiting months for our first marsquake,” said Philippe Lognonné, a Professor at Paris Diderot University and geophysicist at the IPGP Earth physics institute in Paris and the Principal Investigator for SEIS. 

“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 studied it more and modeled our data.”

Scientists need to study the quake further to have definite details on it, but for now it seems to have come from inside the planet as opposed to something on the surface such as winds. What is known for sure is that Earth is no longer the only planet to be monitored by seismometers.

“The SEIS instrument deployed on Mars at the start of this year is now recording the slightest ground vibrations day and night, be they due to the atmosphere and its winds sweeping the surface or to quakes and meteorite impacts. Mars is thus the third rocky planetary body in the solar system to be studied by seismologists, 130 years after the beginnings of instrumental seismology on Earth and 50 years after the first seismometer deployed by Apollo 11 in July 1969," said Antoine Petit, CEO of CNRS.

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