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Nasa's InSight lander 'detects first Marsquake'

Nasa's InSight lander 'detects first Marsquake'

  • 23 April 2019
Image copyright NASA/JPL
Image caption The sensors were developed in France and the UK

The American space agency's InSight lander appears to have detected its first seismic event on Mars.

The faint rumble was picked up by the probe's sensors on 6 April - the 128th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

It is the first seismic signal detected on the surface of a planetary body other than the Earth and its Moon.

Scientists say the source for this "Marsquake" could either be movement in a crack inside the planet or the shaking from a meteorite impact.

Nasa's InSight probe touched down on the Red Planet in November last year.

It aims to identify multiple quakes, to help build a clearer picture of Mars' interior structure.

Researchers can then compare this with Earth's internal rock layering, to learn something new about the different ways in which these two worlds have evolved through the aeons.

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Interestingly, InSight's scientists say the character of the rumble reminds them very much of the type of data the Apollo sensors gathered on the lunar surface.