The spacecraft „Insight“ may have been able to record evidence of an earthquake on Mars for the first time. Experts are already talking about a milestone, but NASA is still cautious.
Since November, the NASA probe „InSight“ is on Mars, now it has probably caught the first sounds of a quake on the Red Planet.
The weak sound signal was recorded on April 6, and thus on the 128th day of the robot on the planet, said the US space agency. The tremors picked up by the probe’s seismic instrument seem to come from inside Mars rather than from its surface forces like wind.
NASA still careful
According to NASA, scientists are still busy researching the exact cause of the signal. However, experts have already spoken of a milestone confirming the seismic activity of Mars.
„So far we’ve been collecting background noise, but this event marks the official start of a new field of research: Earthquake Science on Mars!“ Said InSight expert Bruce Banerdt.
„It’s so exciting“
„We have been waiting for months for a signal like this,“ rejoiced Philippe Lognonne, an earthquake specialist at the French Physics Institute Institute of Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP). „It’s so exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active.“ The French-made seismometer had been dropped on the surface of the Red Planet by the Insight probe in December, a few weeks after it landed.
„InSight“ for two years on Mars
„InSight“ is intended to research the interior of Mars with numerous scientific instruments for at least two years, and above all to learn more about its structure and the dynamics under its surface.
„InSight“ exactly means „Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport“. It’s a 360-kilogram robot that does not roll but stays in one place. The „InSight“ mission costs about 650 million euros.