Scientists operating the American space agency's InSight lander, which touched down on Mars in November a year ago, picked up a "quiet but distinct" seismic signal. It was reported on April 6, with scientists still specifying its origin to be completely sure of the results.
No estimated Earth-magnitude equivalent was immediately given for the apparent marsquake.
Although the recording was made earlier this month, it was released by NASA on Tuesday.
We're starting to have many small quakes.
Researchers were elated when the quake finally happened. Regardless of its cause, the Sol 128 signal is an exciting milestone for the team. As they jostle for position, stresses build up until they can't any longer-triggering a breaking point we feel as an natural disaster. NASA's InSight Sends First Selfie After Landing on Mars (See Photo).
It is interesting to note that unlike Earth, Mars and Moon do not have tectonic plates. On Mars, scientists suspected that quakes were caused by the slow cooling of planet's core over millions of years that may trigger sporadic quakes as energy swept through the interior of the planet.
What can we tell from this event?NASA measured Moonquakes between 1969 and 1977 when Apollo astronauts installed five seismometers on the surface of Earth's natural satellite. But that doesn't mean the signal is useless.
In fact they say it was so faint that a quake of the same scale on Earth would be lost among the dozens of seismological crackles that occur here every day.
According to NASA, the InSight's seismometer, which was installed on the surface of Mars on December 19, 2018, will enable scientists to gather data about the deep interior of Mars, allowing scientists to learn about how other rocky worlds, including Earth and Mars, formed.
Quakes on each of the solar system's three rocky bodies - Earth, Moon and Mars - that are now being seismically monitored are different. The InSight team is actively working to nail down the specifics. Since the surface of Mars is barren, the seismometer was able to pick up the weak signals generated by the marsquake. "There are a lot of uncertainties on that, but that's what it's looking like", said Prof Tom Pike, who leads the British side of the seismometer package.
Is there hope for more?
The marsquake was no more than a faint rumble, but CNES says it's the first event that appears to be coming from the interior of Mars and not from wind shaking the instrument. And Weber notes that InSight will nearly certainly feel a meteor impact's jolt at some point during its mission, based on impact rates inferred from satellite observations.
"It's a waiting game", she said.
As these vibrations move through the Red Planet, they bump into and reflect off of different materials underground. By the end of the mission we'll have a super big quake. "We've just been building incrementally onto this story". Up to now we didn't know if even that was going to be good enough. Banerdt said in a statement.