Thursday , August 5 2021

Marsquick! NASA’s InSight has detected two major earthquakes on Mars

Tremors of magnitude 3.3 and 3.1 occurred in an area called Cerberus Fusai, confirming the idea that the site was seismically active.

NASAInSight aircraft InSight detects two strong, pronounced earthquakes on the site March Cerberus is called Fusai, the same place where two powerful earthquakes were previously seen on the mission. The new earthquake strengths are 3.3 and 3.1; Earlier earthquakes were 3.6 and 3.5 points. InSight has so far recorded more than 500 earthquakes, but due to its clear signals, these are the four best earthquake plates to explore the planet.

Wetland research is one way the InSight research team is working to better understand the coverage and core of Mars. There are no flat tectonics on the planet, like on Earth, but there are volcanic active regions that can rattle. March 7 and 18. Earthquakes heighten the idea that Cerberus Fossae is a center of seismic activity.

“During the mission, we saw two different types of earthquakes: one resembling the moon and the other more like the earth,” said Taishi Kawamura of the International Institute of Physics in France. Paris, which helped present the InSight seismometer and disseminate its data together with the Swiss research university ETH Zurich. Earthquake waves travel directly through the planet, and earthquake waves are usually very widespread; The swamps lie somewhere in between. “Remarkably, all four of Cerberus Fusai’s largest earthquakes are equal to the earth,” Kawamura said.

This illustration shows NASA’s spacecraft with instruments on the surface of Mars. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The new earthquakes have something to do with the major previous SeSight seismic events that occurred around the entire year of Mars (two years on Earth): they occurred in the summer of northern Mars. Scientists have predicted that this will again be the ideal time to listen to the earthquakes as the winds calm down. A seismometer called an internal structure seismic experiment (SEIS) is sensitive enough that winds, although covered by a dome-shaped shield to prevent wind and not cool down, still cause enough vibration to mask it. , Some wetlands. Last northern winter, InSight could not detect any earthquakes at all.

“It’s great to see the earthquakes again after the wind noise was recorded,” said John Clinton, a seismologist at the head of InSight’s Marsricake office in ETH Zurich. – A year later, on Mars, we can now describe much faster seismic activity on the red planet.

Better detection

The wind may have calmed down, but scientists are still hoping to further improve their ability to “hear”. The temperature at the InSight landing gear can vary from almost minus 148 degrees to minus minus 148 degrees Fahrenheit (Minus 100 degrees Celsius) Night to 32 ° F (0 ° C) during the day. Because of these large temperature differences, the cable connecting the seismometer to the landing gear can become stretched and contracted, resulting in noises and waves in the data.

So the mission team began trying to isolate the cable in part from the weather. They started using the InSight tank at the back of the robot arm to lower the bottom through the windmill and the dome heat shield so that it could penetrate the cable. This allows the bottom to get as close to the shield as possible without interfering with the density of the shield to the ground. In fact, burying the seismic rope is one of the goals of the next phase of the mission, which NASA recently extended two years to 2022. December.

Despite the winds that shake the seismometer, InSight’s solar cells remain covered with dust, and as Mars moves away from the sun, the energy decreases. Energy levels are expected to improve after July, when the planet begins to approach the sun again. Until then, the mission will consistently shut down paratroopers so that InSight can fall asleep during the winter, wake up periodically to check on their health, and interact with the Earth. The team expects the seismometer to run for another month or two before it is temporarily turned off.

More about the mission

Jet Propulsion Laboratory InSight works in NASA’s Director Science Mission. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery program, led by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Denver’s Lockheed Martin Space built the InSight spacecraft, including the cruise and landing phases, and supports the mission’s spaceship operations.

A number of European partners, including the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES) and the German Aeronautics and Space Center (DLR), support the InSight mission. The National Space Research Center (NASA) has provided the Internal Structure Seismic Experimentation Tool (SEIS) together with the main IPGP researcher (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris). IPGP has made a significant contribution to the overall environmental information system; Max Planck Solar System Research Institute (MPS) in Germany; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in Switzerland; Imperial College London Oxford University in the United Kingdom; A JPL. InSight Marsquake Service is an ETH Zurich-led ground operation that also includes seismologists during IPG Paris University of Bristol And Imperial College London. SEIS and APSS operations are managed by CNES SISMOC, supported by the CAB, and SEIS data is coordinated and disseminated by the IPG Paris Mars SEIS data service. DLR provided a heat flow device and a set of physical properties (HP3), to which the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronautics in Poland contributed. The Spanish Centro de Astrobiology (CAB) has installed temperature and wind sensors.

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