NASA detects on Mars the largest earthquake that has been recorded outside the Earth – Teach Me Science

NASA announced that they detected a monstrous earthquake hitting the surface of Mars that is considered the largest ever observed on another planet. The first reports were made public through a Tweet on the account of Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen who is the associate administrator of NASA’s science mission directorate, which posted with great astonishment: “Partners have just received preliminary data from Mars on what is believed to be the largest seismic activity ever recorded on another planet! Preliminary estimate: Magnitude 5 event. You have to be patient while the teams analyze the data.”

The detection was made by the lander “Studying the ‘inner space’ of Mars (InSight Mars) of NASA which is a mission that seeks to discover the enigma of how a rocky body forms and evolves to become a planet, like those of the solar system and even the Moon; To do this, the depths of Mars are being studied, that is, its crust, mantle and core with state-of-the-art technology and instruments. Within the investigations, the seismic one is included that will help scientists to recognize this activity on the Martian planet and that today allowed the detection of the largest “earthquake” outside our planet.

The report of this event was officially reported on NASA’s website under the heading “NASA’s InSight Records Monster Quake on Mars”. In it they indicate that the earthquake occurred on May 4, 2022 (day 1222 of the mission on the Martian surface) and a magnitude of 5 was estimated on our seismological scale, likewise, they show us the spectrogram that evidences this fact and in which can be observed the variation of frequency and intensity of the signal for the day May 4. See the spectrogram in the following image:

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Spectrogram showing the largest earthquake ever detected on another planet reported by NASA’s InSight lander on May 4, 2022. Credit: NASA/ NASA/JPL-Caltech/ETH Zurich

The InSight Mars mission has been working, exploring and obtaining data from the interior of Mars since November 2018 and, in terms of its seismic activity, it is reported that 1313 earthquakes have been detected, this being the one that breaks the record for the largest earthquake recorded outside of Earth, this badge was previously awarded to a magnitude 4.2 record from August 25, 2021.

“Since we installed our seismometer in December 2018, we have been waiting for the big one. This earthquake is sure to provide a view of the planet like no other. Scientists will analyze this data to learn new things about Mars for years to come,” Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator, told NASA.

In comparison, the most devastating earthquakes that hit Mexico in 1985 and 2017 were estimated to be of magnitude 8.1 and 8.2, doubling the scale of the largest Martian seismic event recorded so far, however, NASA reports that this detection was not as expected by scientists. scientists on the surface of Mars.

For now, we have to wait for the translation and analysis of all the data collected by the InSight rover, whose extended mission ends in December 2022, and from which it is expected that the necessary information will be obtained to guide scientists to determine signs of formation of rocky planets.

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