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The ‘monster’ earthquake on Mars is the largest ever recorded on another planet, according to NASA

A magnitude 5 earthquake shook the surface of Mars on May 4, according to a seismometer placed by NASA’s InSight lander on the planet. The seismic event has been dubbed a ‘monster’ earthquake by the space agency as it is the strongest quake ever detected not only on Mars but also on any planet other than Earth. . The red planet had previously recorded seismic events of magnitude 4.2 and magnitude 4.1 in August 2021. The space agency had found that these earthquakes were, in turn, five times stronger than the previous seismic event. the largest recorded on the planet.

The new “monster” earthquake occurred on the 1222nd sol (Mars day) of the lander’s mission. Since Insight landed on Mars in 2018, the planet has witnessed more than 1,313 earthquakes. According to NASA, a magnitude 5 earthquake is comparable to a medium-sized earthquake on Earth. However, the magnitude is closer to the upper limit of what the scientist expected to observe on the Red Planet during the mission.

The quake was detected by InSight on a “highly sensitive seismometer” provided by France’s Center National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), NASA said. The purpose of the seismometer is to study the deep interior of the planet, and earthquakes play an important role in aiding research. According to the space agency, seismic waves “pass through or reflect material in the crust, mantle and core of Mars”. In doing so, they alter and modify parameters that can help seismologists study the composition and other characteristics of these layers.

Speaking of the quake, Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California who is leading the mission, said it was the “big one” the team had been waiting for since they first installed their seismometer in December 2018. “This earthquake is sure to provide a view of the planet like no other,” he said. “Scientists will analyze this data to learn new things about Mars in the years to come.”

While the earthquake promises the possibility of exciting new scientific discoveries, it also comes at a time when the lander is experiencing operational issues. On May 7, InSight saw a drop in available power below a level that put it into safe mode. This means the spacecraft suspends all but the most essential functions.

Last month, the seismometer placed by NASA’s InSight lander detected two earthquakes of magnitude 4.2 and 4.1.

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The ‘monster’ earthquake on Mars is the largest ever recorded on another planet, according to NASA


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