NASA is investigating a new series of “Marsquakes” on Earth’s planetary neighbor — just the latest exciting mystery being probed o
NASA is investigating a new series of “Marsquakes” on Earth’s planetary neighbor — just the latest exciting mystery being probed on the Red Planet.
Scientists at the space agency believe the tremors will offer clues to surface landslides or underground volcanos on the planet.
The latest quakes were detected not by the newly-landed Perseverance land rover — but by NASA’s InSight lander, which touched down on the surface back in 2018.
InSight’s seismometer picked up evidence of two new quakes in March, the space agency said Thursday.
The seismic activity happened in an area known as Cerberus Fossae, where two previous quakes have been detected.
The latest quakes were weaker than the previous two in that area, with magnitudes 3.3 and 3.1, but they have given scientists more insight on the interior of the planet, NASA said.
“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’s Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris.
“Interestingly, all four of these larger quakes, which come from Cerberus Fossae, are ‘Earth-like.’”
All four occurred in the Martian northern summer when winds are calmer and conditions are more favorable for listening to seismic activity.
“It’s wonderful to once again observe marsquakes after a long period of recording wind noise,” said seismologist John Clinton.
Unlike Earth, Mars does not have tectonic plates, but it has volcanically active regions that cause quakes, scientists said.
The InSight lander has been on Mars since 2018 and is tasked with exploring the planet’s interior in the hope of determining how the planet was shaped billions of years ago.
More than 500 marsquakes have been detected to date.
Meanwhile, the Perseverance rover continues to explore the surface, last week exploring an odd, crater-pocked little green rock.