NASA’s Rover Records Magnitude 5 Quake on Mars, Strongest Ever in History of Planet’s Study

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NASA's Rover Records Magnitude 5 Quake on Mars, Strongest Ever in History of Planet's Study
NASA's Rover Records Magnitude 5 Quake on Mars, Strongest Ever in History of Planet's Study

Africa-Press – Sierra-Leone. Quakes occur on Mars as well, and it is thought that the Red Planet was once more seismically active. Yet even now, sensors are able to detect distortions typical of a marsquake, albeit they are usually minor in comparison to most earthquakes.

NASA’s InSight Mars lander has detected the strongest quake ever recorded on another planet, a magnitude 5 quake that struck on May 4, 2022, the mission’s 1,222 Martian day, or sol, the agency said on Monday.

According to a press release, this brings the total number of quakes detected by InSight to 1,313 since its arrival on Mars in November 2018. The greatest previously recorded quake was a magnitude 4.2 marsquake that occurred on August 25, 2021.

NASA’s InSight lander recorded the magnitude 4.2 quake as lasting over an hour and a half. It was also said to have five times the energy of the previous record holder, a magnitude 3.7 quake discovered in 2019.

A magnitude 5 marsquake is not very strong by Earth standards, but it is close to the upper limit of what scientists expected to detect on Mars during the InSight mission, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Notably, before being able to reveal specifics such as its position, the nature of its source, and what it might tell us about Mars’ innards, the science team will need to investigate this new quake further.

The quake strikes as InSight faces issues with its solar panels, which provide power to the expedition. As InSight’s location on Mars approaches winter, the amount of dust in the air increases, lowering the amount of sunlight available.

On May 7, 2022, the lander’s available energy dipped slightly below the threshold that causes the spacecraft to enter safe mode, which disables all but the most vital systems. This reaction is meant to protect the lander, but it could happen again when the available power drops. To probe Mars’ deep interior, InSight was equipped with a highly sensitive seismometer given by France’s Centre National d’√Čtudes Spatiales (CNES).

Seismologists can analyze how seismic waves change as they pass through or reflect off material in Mars’ crust, mantle, and core to establish the depth and composition of these layers. Scientists can use what they discover about Mars’ structure to better comprehend the genesis of all rocky worlds, including Earth and its Moon.

NASA extended the mission to December 2022 after the lander completed its primary mission at the end of 2020, achieving its original science objectives.

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