In an era when technological advancements are exceeding the human imagination, we have the right to dream and plan that someday we’ll spend a vacation on Mars. It’s pretty much the only cosmic object from our solar system able to maintain at least some forms of life. But we are far from opening the champagne since Mars has plenty of dangerous characteristics. And one of them could be that it has numerous quakes, maybe more than Earth does.
NASA’s Insight lander, the latest robot humanity has sent to the Red Planet, detected 450 marsquakes since November 2018. However, the strongest seismic activities didn’t exceed a magnitude of four, but it’s still too much for only a bit more than a year of exploration by Insight.
Some of the marsquakes have an unknown origin. There are basically three reasons for seismic activity: volcanoes, impact with asteroids, and geological faults. However, marsquakes hold information about the crust and the deeper layers of Mars, and scientists are looking forward to that.
What’s for sure is that Mars is a seismically active planet, as Bruce Banerdt, the main investigator on the InSight mission at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, points out:
We’ve finally, for the first time, established that Mars is a seismically active planet,
John Bridges, a professor of planetary sciences at Leicester University, is explaining us more:
Some of the lava flows near the InSight lander have been dated at a few millions of years old – amazingly young when we consider the small size of Mars relative to the Earth. The growing seismic record from InSight will be essential in order to work out if Mars is still undergoing deep-mantle convection and even volcanism,
The fact that there is seismic activity on Mars is a big surprise for some scientists. Until this discovery, quakes have been found only on Earth and on the Moon.