NASA, the United States space agency has announced that they have detected the first seismic tremor on Mars. It should be noted that this is for the time a human probe is detecting the so-called 'Mars Quake' on the Red Planet. The tremor was detected by NASA's Insight lander which has been exploring Mars surface since November as a part of an ongoing mission to listen for quakes on the red planet.
Even though the Insight lander's seismic meter was active since December, the space agency was able to detect a quake only on April 06. A press release issued by France's space agency, CNES, which built the device revealed that the tremor was so small, but it will be a major step for Insight lander's overall mission.
"We've been waiting months for our first marsquake. It's so exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active. We're looking forward to sharing detailed results once we've studied it more and modelled our data," said Philippe Lognonné, SEIS team lead at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) in France.
Insight lander's seismic meter has also detected three other signals after detecting the initial one. However, these three signals are comparatively much weaker and that the first one. Even though some experts believe that the activity could be the result of external forces like wind, NASA experts strongly assure that they have recorded the first seismic activity from Mars itself.
The recording of Mars Quake can be compared with the seismic activity measured on the moon during the Apollo missions, between 1969 and 1977. In this time, astronauts have measured several quakes from the lunar surface.
'InSight's first readings carry on the science that began with the Apollo missions. We've been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology," said Bruce Banerdt, Insight's Principal Investigator.