The largest earthquake ever observed by NASA on Mars. Photo: NASA
NASA has recorded the most powerful earthquake ever detected far from Earth. It was recorded on Mars on May 4.
On May 4, NASA’s Mars Insight probe detected the largest earthquake ever seen on another planet. The strength of the tremor was 5.
I felt like that‼️
After more than three years of listening to the soft gurgle of Mars, I just felt my biggest “earthquake” yet: it looks like it’s about magnitude 5. My team is studying the data to find out more. Science rewards patience!
More details: https://t.co/DKVy8tUrxU pic.twitter.com/bExr13Lkvw
– NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) May 9, 2022
More than 1,313 earthquakes have been detected by InSight since it landed on Mars in November 2018. So far, the largest ever recorded has been around 4.2, detected on August 25, 2021.
NASA said in a statement:
“InSight was sent to Mars using a highly sensitive seismometer, provided by the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES), to study the depths of the planet’s interior. When seismic waves pass through or are reflected off material in Mars’ crust, mantle and core, they change in ways that seismologists can study.” To determine the depth and composition of these layers, what scientists are learning about the structure of Mars can help them better understand the formation of all rocky worlds, including Earth and the Moon.
“The magnitude 5 earthquake is an earthquake of medium size compared to those felt on Earth, but it is close to the upper limit of what scientists had hoped to see on Mars during the Insight mission. The science team will need to study this new earthquake further before we can than providing details such as its location, the nature of its source, and what it might tell us about the interior of Mars.”
The big earthquake comes as InSight faces new challenges with the solar panels that support the mission. As the InSight site on Mars enters winter, there is more dust in the air, reducing the amount of sunlight available.
After the lander completed its primary mission in late 2020 and achieved its original science goals, NASA extended the mission until December 2022.
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