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The most powerful earthquake on Mars was not caused by a meteorite, but by tectonic forces

The most powerful earthquake on Mars was not caused by a meteorite, but by tectonic forces

there NASA Insight mission He was not among the most fortunate in the US space agency due to a problem associated with one of the devices (a self-tapping screw to detect the internal heat of the planet) and the accumulation of dust on the solar panels, which caused it to fall off. It expires in December 2022. Despite everything, the vehicle still collects a series of important data that made it possible to highlight some of its characteristics. Mars.

The Red Planet has been and continues to be the destination of many space missions including orbiters, landers, rovers and drones. Discovering its properties and reconstructing its history could shed light on changes that could occur on rocky Earth-like planets in other solar systems as well. Mars same. Now this is important NASA Insight It’s over, for him “Data baggage” It was not lost, but rather it contributed and will contribute to formulating new studies to uncover the secrets of the Red Planet. Latest news related to the named event S1222aMost Strong Mars earthquake It was never discovered, which happened in the first half of 2022.

Mars: The supposed origin of the most powerful earthquake ever discovered

Today it was posted on Geophysical Research Letters I study By title “Tectonic Origin of the Largest Martian Earthquake Observed by InSight”. Here we examine the possible origin of Strong Mars earthquake detected before NASA Insight On May 4, 2022 it was tagged with code S1222a. The study is an international collaboration involving several institutes and agencies and conducted in particular by the University of Oxford.

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Mars earthquake

According to what was stated in the study: Earthquake with Magnitude to 4.7 It would not have arisen from a Meteorite impact Rather than Tectonic forces of the Martian crust. As soon as the event was discovered, the team of scientists began searching for a possible meteorite crater that could generate such an amount of vibrations. According to initial estimates, the impact crater was supposed to be 300 meters in diameter with a debris fall zone up to 180 kilometers in diameter.


Data from the lander showed that Vibrations Produced by this event has passed Mars to At least six hours (“Jump” from side to side). there confusion The beginning arose from the fact that the acquired signal resembled previous signals Meteorite impacts With the discovery of new craters (S1000a and S1094b), this therefore seems to be the most likely reason also for S1222a. In particular, surface waves with long periods, a wide covered frequency range and a long duration of the final phase of the events are detected. Unlike the other two though S1222a More diverse surface waves (including Rayleigh waves and Love waves), hyper and subordinate overtones, Rayleigh waves with multi-orbital major and minor arcs and different ratios between the energies of P waves and S waves at higher frequencies appeared.

To find the crater and dust clouds raised by the collision, Benjamin Fernando (The lead author of the study and a physicist from the University of Oxford) had at the time approached the European Space Agency, CNSA, ISRO and UASA to use the orbiters, respectively Mars Express, Tianwen-1, Mangalyaan and Hope, to analyze the lunar surface. planet. Searches continued for months and did not discover any new craters or clouds of dust. This has led to the hypothesis of a related origin Tectonic forces From the crust Mars Instead of a meteorite impact.

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Mars insight

Benjamin Fernando Announce this matter “We still believe that Mars today does not have active tectonic plates, so this event was likely caused by the release of stresses within the Martian crust. These stresses are the result of billions of years of evolution, including the cooling and contraction of different parts of Mars.” The planet at different rates. We still don’t fully understand why some parts of the planet seem to have higher pressures than others, but findings like this help us investigate further. One day, this information could help us understand where it would be safe for humans to live on Mars and where they might want to avoid it!.

Although it does not have tectonic plates like Earth, Mars It asserts itself as a planet “active” Although different processes are involved. In the future, new studies can clarify the internal dynamics of the Red Planet, and the knowledge gained thanks to this study will be applied to the Moon and Titan (satellite of Saturn).