Tech - News
The Interesting Seismic Activity We Started To Detect
On Mars
NASA's InSight mission has been studying marsquakes since landing in 2018 and has detected frequent seismic activity on the planet. While Earth’s tectonic plates cause earthquakes when they collide or rub together — Mars has one solid plate of crust with a molten core inside, and fractures forming in the plate create marsquakes as the planet cools.
A recent study by the Australian National University (ANU) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has identified previously undetected marsquakes. Hrvoje Tkalčić, an author of the study, noted, “We can assume that the movement of molten rock in the Martian mantle is the trigger for these 47 newly detected marsquakes beneath the Cerberus Fossae region.”
As the marsquakes are happening throughout the day, the researchers believe that rather than the tectonic forces of the planet cooling, the molten rock beneath Mars's surface is moving around and creating the quakes. Using data from the InSight lander and running it through a new algorithm, researchers were able to pick up some very small seismic events.
Tkalčić noted in a statement, "Knowing that the Martian mantle is still active is crucial to our understanding of how Mars evolved as a planet.” He added, “It can help us answer fundamental questions about the solar system and the state of Mars' core, mantle, and the evolution of its currently-lacking magnetic field."
Mars seems to have lost its magnetosphere (essential for the development of life) some time ago. Tkalčić said, "Therefore, understanding Mars' magnetic field, how it evolved, and at which stage of the planet's history it stopped is obviously important for future missions and is critical if scientists one day hope to establish human life on Mars."