Nasa InSight lander detects first ever ‘Marsquake’ on Red Planet

Zamira Rahim
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Nasa InSight lander detects first ever ‘Marsquake’ on Red Planet

A Nasa spacecraft on Mars has recorded the first “marsquake” ever detected.

The InSight lander’s quake monitor recorded a gentle rumble on 6 April, scientists said.

Researchers believe the rumble was a quake from within Mars.

“We’ve been waiting months for a signal like this,” Philippe Lognonne, a member of the InSight team, said.

He said it was exciting to finally have proof that the Red Planet was seismically active.

Like the moon, Mars lacks tectonic plates.

The planet is also not as geologically active as Earth.

Nasa posted an audio clip of the vibrations on its official Twitter account.

“We’ve been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology!” Bruce Bandert, InSight’s lead scientist, added.

Researchers are hoping that the quake recordings will reveal more about how rocky planets formed.

Scientists are still analysing the data collected by the spacecraft, which arrived on Mars in late November.

The craft’s French-made seismometer was placed directly on Mars’ surface in December and three other seismic signals have been detected since mid-March.

Another part of the lander is a German-built drilling instrument.

Researchers are hoping the device will drill into Mars’ and measure the planet’s internal temperature.

But so far it has only managed to drill 50cm into the planet.

The InSight project will cost Nasa $814m (£633m) over two years, as the US space agency aims to discover more about how Mars was formed.

Researchers also hope to discover more about the Red Planet’s structure, by using the spacecraft to map its core, crust and mantle.

Additional reporting by agencies