Hundreds of earthquakes on MARS detected – giving hope for presence of alien life
MODERATE seismic activity and ground vibrations have been detected on Mars, giving scientists hope that life could potentially be detected on the red planet.
An international team of experts has released results from the Mars InSight mission which launched at the end of 2018 and the data has proved very interesting.
University of Maryland assistant professor and study co-author Nicholas Schmerr said: "Understanding these processes is part of a bigger question about the planet itself.
"Can it support life, or did it ever? Life exists at the edge, where the equilibrium is off.
"Think of areas on Earth such as the thermal vents at the deep ocean ridges where chemistry provides the energy for life rather than the Sun.
"If it turns out there is liquid magma on Mars, and if we can pinpoint where the planet is most geologically active, it might guide future missions searching for the potential for life."
The mission aimed to help scientists determine how active Mars is and whereabouts this activity is coming from.
It's said to be the first mission that has focused directly on taking geophysical measurements of Mars and could provide an insight into its interior structure and processes.
Data was collected by Nasa's InSight probe and its seismometer, a tool used for measuring ground motions.
The data was collected over 235 Martian days and picked up 174 marsquakes.
Of those, 150 were classed as high-frequency events that shook the ground similar to events recorded on the Moon.
Another 24 low-frequency quakes were picked up.
Vedran Lekic, an associate professor of geology at UMD and a co-author of the study, said: "These low-frequency events were really exciting, because we know how to analyze them and extract information about subsurface structure.
"Based on how the different waves propagate through the crust, we can identify geologic layers within the planet and determine the distance and location to the source of the quakes."
InSight's seismometer is said to be much more improved that those used on previous missions.
It can also provide important information about the weather on Mars.
This includes information on so called dust devils, which are whirlwinds that humans would have to cope with if they colonised Mars.
The researchers discovered that the winds on Mars picks up from about midnight and through to the early morning.
These winds then build up during the day due to the Sun and dust devils seem to occur in the afternoon when atmospheric pressure drops.
Things then settle by the evening.
Leick said: "What is so spectacular about this data is that it gives us this beautifully poetic picture of what a day is actually like on another planet."
The results of the study have been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The InSight mission intends to collect data throughout 2020.
What is Nasa's InSight probe?
Here's everything you need to know…
- InSight landed on Mars on November 26, 2018, and will study the deep interior of the red planet.
- It cost £600million to build and will spend two years surveying a small spot on Mars no larger than a pair of ping pong tables.
- Unlike Curiosity, which landed in 2012 and is still on the move on Mars, InSight is immobile.
- The probe is mapping Mars' core, crust and mantle by measuring small earthquakes and heat flow below the Martian surface.
- Three UK-made seismometer instruments are on board the spacecraft, part of a £4million UK Space Agency effort to track "marsquakes" on the planet.
- Nasa hopes to learn why the rocky planets in our solar system turned out so different compared to Earth, which evolved into a haven for life.
- InSight is Nasa's – indeed, humanity's – eighth successful landing at Mars since the 1976 Viking probes, and the first in six years.
- Nasa's Curiosity rover, which arrived in 2012, is still studying the red planet.
In other space news, Nasa thinks alien life might be hiding underground in ancient caves on Mars.
A martian moon mining mission millions of miles from Earth has been given the go-ahead.
And, Nasa recently revealed a surreal photo of Earth taken from 4billion miles away.
Do you think there's alien life out there? Let us know in the comments…
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