News about the red planet is only getting more and more interesting.
NASA announced its InSight lander that landed on Mars in November 2018 has recorded fresh Marsquake in March 2021.
According to InSight’s data, the lander recorded temblors with magnitudes of 3.3 and 3.1 on March 07 and March 18 respectively in a region called Cerberus Fossae, further supporting the idea that Cerberus Fossae is seismically active.
[These two marsquakes are light compared to the quakes that happen on earth]
The lander had recorded Marsquakes with magnitudes of 3.6 and 3.5 the previous month. And with these latest recordings InSight has now totally recorded 500 marsquakes since its landing on Mars in 2018.
In Cerberus Fossae the dislodged boulders most probably because of the recurring quakes strongly suggest the underground region of the area may have active volcanic activity, but unlike Earth, Mars does not have tectonic plates.
“Over the course of the mission, we’ve seen two different types of marsquake: one that is more ‘Moon-like’ and the other more “Earth-like,” said Taichi Kawamura of France’s Institute de Physique du Globe de Paris in a report.
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During the northern Martian winter, it was difficult to record the seismic data as the lander’s surrounding was punishing, even though the seismometer was protected by its dome-shaped shield from the punishing environment, winds were blowing strong enough to cause vibrations that hampered any recording of the quakes.
But during these last 2 recordings, the winds had calmed down.
“It’s wonderful to once again observe marsquakes after a long period of recording wind noise. One Martian year on, we are now much faster at characterizing seismic activity on the Red Planet,” said seismologist John Clinton, leading InSight’s Marsquake Service at ETH Zurich.
The temperatures near the lander are extremely cold, it drops down to -100°C at night and stays at 0°C during the day.
This huge temperature fluctuation put extreme pressure on the cable connecting the lander and the seismometer, hence the team used the martian soil to protect the cable from such fluctuations by covering it using the InSight lander’s robotic arm.
Due to the winds, the lander solar panels are covered in dust reducing the efficiency, and power is running low as the planet is moving away from the Sun. The team is working to push the lander till July until the planet gets closer to the Sun to regularly charge the batteries.