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InSight, from earthquake to meteor

InSight, from earthquake to meteor

The December 24, 2021while on Earth was preparing to leave the James Webb Space Telescope To revolutionize observing the universe, the Mars NASA probe insight I recorded an unusual earthquake.

The onboard seismometer InSight, developed by France’s Cnes, has over the past few years allowed us to reveal important clues about the interior of the Red Planet. Shed new light on the so-called swamp. Shock recorded on Christmas Eve, from 4 . sizeIt was the strongest record ever recorded – the record was later broken May 2022with a magnitude 5 earthquake.

But, as with all the powerful tremors that InSight has detected, scientists have continued to work hard on the data to better understand the nature of these Mars tremors. now Double study just posted on Sciences Reveals the origin of the Martian earthquake at Christmas: A Effect meteorite. Even one of the most powerful planets seen on Mars since NASA began exploring the Red Planet.

Both papers were published simultaneously on Sciencesrespectively ledEth Zurich and from Malin Space Science Systems In San Diego, it was revealed that the shock was caused by a meteorite that fell at about an hour 3500 km.

According to the authors, the body had an overall volume Between 5 and 12 meters: small enough to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, but not in the thin Martian atmosphere, where its density is only1% from our planet. The effect that occurred in an area called amazonis Planetiaalmost led to the crater of a volcano Diameter 150 meters And the 21 meters Depth. As well as a barrage of shrapnel, airlifted up to 37 km.

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All of this has been reconstructed by merging data from InSight with that collected by the probe Mars reconnaissance vehiclewhich already last September helped the mission team to “listen” The first effects of meteorites on Mars.

Here it is, when now dust deposited on the solar panels forces InSight to Getting ready for retirementNASA’s Lander Never Stops Impressing.

Top image: Crater caused by a meteorite that fell on Mars on December 24, 2021. Credits: NASA/Jpl-Caltech/University of Arizona