Data collected by the InSight lander during the first year spent on Mars suggests that the planet may be more active than it appears at first sight.
The lander reached the Elysium Planitia in November 2018 and started to work hard. It is equipped with a vast selection of tools, among which we can count powerful cameras, sophisticated weather sensors, magnetic field sensors, and a seismometer that can track earthquakes.
Some researchers were surprised by the fact that intense earthquakes can take place on the planet, even in the absence of plate tectonics. The magnetic shield and atmosphere may also be affected by a weird phenomenon.
A significant amount of data was recorded by the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS, which was deployed successfully in February 2019. Within seven months, 174 quakes were recorded, with 150 being high-frequency manifestations with low magnitude. The 24 remaining quakes featured a higher scale, which signaled that they took place in deeper regions of the planet.
Intense geological activity takes place inside Mars
Researchers noted that the high-frequency events were similar to those that were discovered by one of the Apollo missions to the moon. Low-frequency events tended to be followed by subsequent events, which are known under the name of P and S waves.
One of the researchers who contributed to the study mentioned that techniques that were developed on Earth could be used to learn more about the internal structure of the planet. This is an excellent opportunity for researchers since Mars has become a topic of interest in recent years.
By observing the way in which the quakes manifest, scientists may learn more about the core of the planet and the chemical composition. It is hoped that a high-intensity even may offer more information about the core in the long run.
The magnetometer tool has also revealed that the magnetic field on the crust is up to ten times stronger than previously thought. More data can be found in a paper published in a scientific journal.