NASA has been using Insight’s seismometer to record seismic information inside the surface of Mars,media reported. NASA says the data records are the first direct evidence of key boundaries within the red planet, designed to help planetary scientists understand how rocky planets formed. Until Insight records the most recent data, scientists can only estimate because of the model.
NASA says Insight measured more than 170 earthquakes between February and September 2019.
The data is the first time a definitive seismic measurement has been made on Mars, but Insight is still actively documenting more data. NASA says the shape and strength of the waves recorded by the lander allowed scientists to infer the composition of the Martian interior. Scientists say there are slight changes when waves pass through different types of rocks.
Mars has much less tectonic activity than Earth. This means that there are relatively few earthquakes on Mars compared to earthquakes. Because the Insight lander is the only seismometer available on Mars, scientists can’t use the method that requires seismic networks, which are often used on Earth.
Since only one seismic detector is available, the scientists are using a data technique called environmental noise self-related, which is designed to extract reflections from the boundaries of the Martian region beneath the crust and mantle. These areas are 22 miles below the lander. Underneath the lander, it is understood there is a transition zone between olivine and the iron ore mine, at depths between 690 and 727 miles. The boundary between the mantle and the core is 945 to 994 miles under the lander.