Science

NASAs Mars InSight lander may have the first recording of a Marsquake

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Lets get ready to rumble: NASA may have just captured the first recording of an earthquake on Mars. On April 6, the Mars InSight landers seismometer recorded a short series of howls, grumbles and pings. One of those sounds — a grumble — is probably a Marsquake, representing the first recorded sound from the interior of the Red Planet, scientists say.

The recording, released by NASA April 23, lasts about 40 seconds. It begins with the faint, eerie howling of the Martian wind, followed by the low rumble of the possible Marsquake. A large ping toward the end is the spacecrafts robotic arm moving.

InSight landed on Mars in November 2018 with a mission to probe the Red Planets interior by tracking seismic waves rippling through its insides (SN Online: 11/26/18). Mars is a quiet planet, lacking not only Earths powerful quakes caused by shifting tectonic plates but also seismic noises caused by winds and oceans. But the planet does have smaller quakes, crackles and rumbles caused as Mars cools and contracts.

MARS ON THE MOVE Scientists think this seismometer recording represents three different types of sounds: first, Martian wind; second, a possible Marsquake; and third, the movement of the InSight spacecrafts robotic arm.

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