Ever wondered what you would call the quakes on Mars? Well, this might sound funny to some, but it has now become one of the major concerns of NASA’s spacecraft “InSight”. The rocket loaded with the probe launched on Saturday from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base into a sky is carrying instruments to research about Mar’s deep interior.
Other than researching about the planet’s temperature and pulse, it will also help in detecting even the slightest shake, or say Marsquake, which could give clues about how Mars has formed and what goes on beneath its surface now.
Most importantly, this research will help in understanding the fact why Mars and Earth look so different now, despite having the same primordial ingredients and having formed around 4.5 million years ago.
According to the deputy principal investigator of the mission, Suzanne Smrekar, Earth has plate tectonics, and all its initial crust has gone and almost recycled. “Mars provides us an prospect to see the structure, materials, as well as the chemical reactions that are pretty close to what we see in the beneath the planet Earth, but it’s preserved from the first 10 million years by the time of solar system formation. It will give us an opportunity to go back in time.”
NASA believes if everything goes as planned, this is going to be the first mission ever to study the seismic waves on some other planet. NASA had tried to do this before with the help of its twin Viking Landers, but failed in the 1970s. But in the latest mission, the probe will carry Atlas V launch vehicle, known as MarCO or Mars Cube One. This twin satellite will follow the InSight on its six months journey, which is expected to cover 600 miles.
InSight’s ability to send the data back does not depend on the success of the MarCO satellites. The lander detects the quakes on Earth using its dome-shaped seismometer, which suggests that tremors on Earth mostly felt due to colliding and drifting of Tectonic plates. But as per the studies tremors on Mars, in case happen, can be caused by the cooling that takes place on the planet.
The seismometer of Insight can detect the distortions that will give the scientists the insight of Mars interior like where is the boundary between the mantle and the crust, or if there are any volcanoes or liquid water reservoirs hidden beneath the surface of the planet.