The Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS, shortly after the InSight lander’s robot arm placed the instrument on the surface of Mars. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech
An ultra-sensitive French space agency seismometer carried to Mars by NASA’s InSight lander has detected a “marsquake,” the first such measurement in the history of Mars exploration.
The faint signal, captured by the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure – SEIS – instrument, was recorded on 6 April, 128 days after InSight’s landing on the red planet. The signal appears to have been generated inside the planet and not by any surface-level phenomenon.
“We’ve been waiting months for a signal like this,” said Philippe Lognonné, SEIS team lead at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) in France. “It’s so exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active. We’re looking forward to sharing detailed results once we’ve had a chance to analyse them.”
Three other seismic events were detected on 14 March, 10 and 11 April, but they were much smaller and their origins more ambiguous.
InSight is equipped with two primary instruments: SEIS, provided by the French space agency CNES, and the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package – HP3 ...