NASA’s InSight Lander Detects Quakes on Mars

The NASA InSight lander has detected two quakes on the surface of Mars registering at levels of 3.3 and 3.1 magnitude.

These are some of the largest quakes felt by the InSight, which has been active on the surface of Mars since 2018. The lander has recorded over 500 quakes since its deployment, the largest of which registered 3.6 magnitude.

NASA scientists are studying quakes on the red planet in order to determine what the planet’s crust, mantle and core are made of. Scientists likened the use of quakes to a CAT scan, using the vibrations to help generate a picture of what lies under the surface of the red planet.

The InSight lander will now begin powering down its various scientific sensors and equipment as dust begins to block the solar panels powering it. The lander will fully power down sometime in June per NASA projections, and will resume operations once Mars is headed out of its winter season sometime in July. 

The seismometer onboard the InSight will continue to pull data until June when it must be shut off for hibernation purposes. Scientists are hopeful that a reduction in winds on Mars during this period will allow them to hear and register quakes at further distance.

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