Mars Earthquakes
(Photo : Twitter/@iamzaki)
Moderate seismic activity and ground vibrations have been detected on Mars according to results from the Mars InSight mission which launched at the end of 2018.

Moderate seismic activity and ground vibrations have been detected on Mars according to results from the Mars InSight mission which launched at the end of 2018.

"Understanding these processes is part of a bigger question about the planet itself," the University of Maryland assistant professor and study co-author Nicholas Schmerr said.

Mars' humming, constant drone periodically pulses with the beat of earthquakes rippling around the planet. The source of these remains unknown. Mars' exterior may be cold and barren but beneath the surface, it is teeming geological activities.

The data is from NASA's InSight mission, published across several papers in "Nature Geoscience" (and one in "Nature Communications"). InSight has been perched on the surface of Mars since November 2018 at a region known as Elysium Planitia.

This lander has observed 450 "marsquakes" on Mars, including about 20 tremors that were relatively crucial.

The marsquakes were pretty smaller than earthquakes on Earth.

The new data could be useful to gather more information about the interior of Mars.

Research on the 174 marsquakes was noted through last September. Twenty-four were relatively strong with a magnitude of 3 to 4. The rest of the quakes were smaller.

The seismic events have been detected since touching down in 2018.

Also Read: Alien Life on Mars: Scars Created by Curiosity Impact Healing Inconsistently, Affects Search for Microbial Life (GIF)

The marsquakes' size and frequency are similar to that of the U.K.

The gist to take away from the first detailed results on the progress of the InSight mission is that Mars is far from being a dull, dead planet; it's an active red planet, said principal investigator Bruce Banerdt.

According to NASA's Bruce Banerdt at a news conference with reporters last week, "We've finally, for the first time, established that Mars is a seismically active planet." He added that the red planet is more seismically active than the moon but is less active than the Earth.

The seismometer to our planetary neighbor is small and dome-shaped, sitting on the brick-colored surface since and waiting for hints of movement below the surface. On April 6, InSight has caught a quiet but distinct signal, detected its first possible marsquake in April 2019.

According to Schmerr, "If it turns out there is liquid magma on Mars, and if we can pinpoint where the planet is most geologically active, it might guide future missions searching for the potential for life."

The purpose of the mission is to determine how active Mars is and where this activity is coming from.

The lander settled on Mars in November 2018, ahead of a harrowing descent to a flat, featureless expanse near the planet's equator.

InSight has been using an extremely sensitive seismometer and a range of additional instruments to take readings that will aid scientists to untangle Mars's geologic activity and internal structure.

According to Philippe Lognonné, principal investigator for one of the lander's instruments, "Mars is a place where we can probably say the seismic hazard is extremely low."

Related article: Curiosity Takes First Earth Photo from Mars