The first Marsquake has been detected


The first ever seismic tremor was registered on Mars, proving that the so-far hypothetical "marsquakes" are a real deal, and the Red Planet is far from being dead - in a geological sense at least.

NASA's scientists believe its lander has detected a first seismic event - the first time a probable seismological tremor has been recorded on a planet other than the Earth and its Moon.

The French space agency Cnes, which operates SEIS, said it had detected "a weak but distinct seismic signal" from the probe. This is the first time humans have recorded quaking that originates from within the planet rather than from something on the surface.

Of course, scientists have measured earthquakes on our own planet for more than a century. InSight, which landed on Mars in November a year ago, is a mission specifically created to study the guts of Mars.

InSight's lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said the result was the continuation of work started by the Apollo moonwalkers almost a half-century ago, who placed seismometers that measured thousands of moonquakes.

However, Weber said the events will certainly teach scientists about the nature of seismic activity on Mars and the upper layers of the planet that the waves travelled through.

This quake is similar to the ones measured on the moon during the Apollo missions.

"It's so exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active", Philippe Lognonne, a geophysicist at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris in France, said in a statement.

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"InSight's first readings carry on the science that began with NASA's Apollo missions", said InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"The Martian surface is extremely quiet, allowing SEIS, InSight's specially designed seismometer, to pick up faint rumbles", the release reads.

As these vibrations move through the Red Planet, they bump into and reflect off of different materials underground.

Smaller seismic signals were detected on Mars in March and April, but researchers aren't sure about their origin, and they are being studied.

Sadly, the Sol 128 event was too faint to tell scientists anything about the structure of Mars's interior, and here on Earth it would have been lost among the constant grumblings of tectonic activity.

"We worked hard to develop the most sensitive silicon sensors on Earth to send to Mars as part of SEIS".

For Mars, "we've been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology!" Mars and the Moon do not have tectonic plates, but they still experience quakes - in their cases, caused by a continual process of cooling and contraction that creates stress.