The first Marsquake has been detected

Friday, 26 Apr, 2019

However, the quake was too small to to provide data on the Martian interior, one of InSight's main goals. I've detected some quiet but distinct shaking on #Mars. In contrast, Earth's surface is quivering constantly from seismic noise created by oceans and weather, according to NASA.

The tremor was so faint that a quake of the same magnitude in Southern California would be virtually lost among the dozens of tiny seismological crackles that occur there every day, JPL said.

A marsquake is like an natural disaster, except it happens on the Red Planet.

Mars might have had tectonic plates at some point, but it surely does not have them today. Over time, scientists say the stress builds until it is strong enough to break the crust, causing a quake.

Another difference between natural disaster and marsquake is the mechanism by which they are detected. Though InSight sits on the Martian surface, it is covered by a Wind and Thermal Shield that protects it from high winds and extreme temperatures.

NASA's Apollo astronauts installed five seismometers that measured thousands of quakes while operating on the Moon between 1969 and 1977, revealing seismic activity on the Moon.

Studying the waveforms of marsquakes enable scientists to figure out how the seismic wave travelled and through what kind of material.

SEIS, which was installed on the Martian surface on December 19, 2018, is said to provide the same information about Mars.

By studying Mars at its core, InSight aims to go back in time and shed light on what factors resulted in producing an Earth full of life and a desolate Mars.

However, these were much smaller, and the InSight scientists do not have the confidence yet to say these as definitely real seismic events. Now seismologists are hard at work to narrow down precisely what caused it.

InSight team members, who had to wait an extra 26 months for this mission to get off the ground after technical troubles forced a delay, view the Sol 128 signal as an exciting milestone.

"So we are very confident that this is a marsquake", Philippe Lognonné, a geophysics and planetary science professor at University Paris Diderot in France and lead researcher for InSight's seismometer, said in an email. "It's so exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active". His team is looking forward to share other information to the public as their investigation advances.

To prevent external noise from interfering with the readings, the SEIS instrument, positioned near the Martian equator, was placed inside a dome that keeps out faint noises from the wind and infamous Martian dust storms.