The US Space Agency Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) (NASA) announced that the static robotic geological laboratory InSight detected in Mars the largest to date earthquake ever observed on another planet of magnitude 5 points.
The quake struck on May 4 and is the culmination of at least 1,313 earthquakes recorded on the neighboring planet since November 2018, when InSight landed on Mars. The largest previous Martian earthquake was 4.2 on the Richter scale and was detected on August 25, 2021.
The InSight is equipped with a highly sensitive seismograph made in France that “catches” seismic waves, as they cross or are reflected inside the “red planet”. Through the study of seismic waves, scientists draw various conclusions about the structure of the crust, mantle and core of Mars.
The 5 magnitude earthquake is of medium magnitude for terrestrial data, but is considered huge for Martian data. As InSight’s chief researcher at JPL Bruce Bannerd put it, “Since the seismograph started operating in December 2018, we have been waiting for a really big earthquake. And surely this earthquake will enable us to study the interior of the planet like no other so far. “Scientists will analyze this data for years to learn new things about Mars.”
The success of InSight came at a time when the robotic geologist is preparing to face increasing challenges from his environment: As winter begins on the neighboring planet, there will be more dust in the air and less sunlight fed by his solar panels. laboratory, at risk of “running out” of electricity.