nasa's insight mission discovers 4 new mars craters relevant to study martian seismic activity
(Photo : Kevin Gill from Los Angeles, CA, United States/Wikimedia Commons) InSight Mission Landing Site on Mars

NASA’s InSight mission discovered four new craters on the surface of Mars. The international researchers said impacts on the Red Planet caused these craters. The researchers’ discoveries were published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

nasa's insight mission discovers 4 new mars craters relevant to study martian seismic activity

(Photo: Kevin Gill from Los Angeles, CA, the United States/Wikimedia Commons)
InSight Mission Landing Site on Mars

Four Crater Impacts on Mars

In November 2018, the probe made its initial landing in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars to study the planet’s crust and impact activity. With its sensitive seismometer, InSight is expected to detect one to 100 impacts every five years. The impact as it occurred can also be seen in the data from this device.

By analyzing data from both smaller space rocks and larger meteoroids that fell on Mars, this spacecraft gave researchers an understanding of seismic activity on Mars between May 2020 and September 2021. Scientists closely investigated four impact events found in the seismic data collected by the probe, according to Express.co.uk.

On September 5, 2021, the first meteoroid made its way into Mars’ atmosphere and burst into at least three pieces, each of which created a crater. Ingrid Daubar of Brown University said that those craters looked magnificent after three years of InSight waiting to detect an impact.

However, scientists note that if we want to know if a surface is older or younger, it is vital to see the impact rate. But the road to discovery has not yet reached it.

Nicholas Schmerr, an associate professor of geology at the University of Maryland and a study’s co-author, stated that the impact of meteoroids and other spacecraft could alter a planet’s surface and atmosphere.

He said such a common scenario on Earth, where objects fly through the atmosphere, hit the ground, and leave a crater behind. However, on a planet like Mars, where the atmosphere is thinner, they haven’t seen such dynamics on Mars.

Measuring Frequency on New Impacts

Schmerr and his colleagues observed the peculiar physics governing the projectile movements. They estimated the approximate positions of the resulting impact sites using the waves detected by the SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) instrument on InSight.

Then the researchers verified the locations and precision of their models by comparing their approximations to images captured by high-resolution cameras. These results show that the source of seismic activity can be determined using planetary seismology, which studies earthquakes and associated phenomena like volcanic eruptions.

Acoustic waves (sound waves that move through fluid or gas) and seismic waves (waves that travel through a solid medium) are the waves being observed as they are produced as space projectiles hit the Earth and enter the planetary atmosphere.

According to Science Daily, Schmerr claims that by measuring the frequency of new impacts in the inner solar system, where Mars and Earth are located, astronomers may better understand the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects like asteroids and rock fragments.

Relevance of Impacts to Mars’ Tectonic Process 

The ability to precisely locate these impacts using photos makes the related acoustic and seismic waves invaluable for understanding the Martian atmosphere and interior. Scientists will be able to learn vital details about the planet, such as the size and rigidity of its core or heating processes, with a better understanding of the locations of marsquakes.

Schmerr and other geophysicists believe that recent developments in planetary seismology will make it possible for them to understand better the tectonic processes that underlie seismic activity on Mars. In the end, the discoveries advance our understanding of planetary origins and evolution.

Keyword: NASA's InSight Mission Discovers 4 New Mars Craters Relevant to Study Martian Seismic Activity

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