InSight Records Largest Marsquake Yet

InSight records a magnitude 5 quake on Mars, topping the previously recorded largest quake which was a magnitude 4.2, and possibly finds the upper limit of tremors.

IMAGE: This spectrogram shows the largest quake ever detected on another planet. Estimated at magnitude 5, this quake was discovered by NASA’s InSight lander on May 4, 2022, the 1,222nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ETH Zurich

Our favorite Martian lander, InSight, recently recorded the largest marsquake yet, measuring magnitude 5. The quake happened last week on May 4 and tops the previous record, which was magnitude 4.2 and occurred last August.

While this magnitude may be considered ‘merely’ a medium-size quake here on Earth, and especially for people living in regions that experience quakes regularly, on Mars, it’s thought that magnitude 5 is probably near the upper limit possible.

The results released this week are preliminary, and InSight’s science team will continue their analysis to determine the location, potential source, and maybe even something about Mars’s interior. After all, that’s what they’re trying to get insight into — using the reflections of the seismic waves to determine the depth and composition of the crust, mantle, and core of the red planet.

Unfortunately, InSight may be reaching the end of its mission, as dust continues to accumulate on its solar panels. We mentioned a similar issue with Ingenuity yesterday, and with the Martian winter approaching, the situation will only get worse. The team is doing everything they can to keep the lander up and running, and we’ll update you here on Daily Space with InSight’s status.

More Information

NASA JPL press release

This story was written for the Daily Space podcast/YouTube series. Want more news from myself, Dr. Pamela Gay, and Erik Madaus? Check out DailySpace.org.

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