The dust-covered solar panels on the InSight lander are expected to stop providing enough power in a few months. The landers instruments continue to advance our understanding of volcanology and seismology. There are three papers published today, two in Science and one in Nature Astronomy. In one of the new papers, there is a description of a new type of earthquake caused by a meteorite. The impact caused waves to travel across the planet's surface. This is the first time that type of wave has been seen off- Earth.
Meteorites strike Mars
The dust-covered solar panels on the InSight lander are expected to stop providing enough power in a few months. The landers instruments continue to advance our understanding of volcanology and seismology.
There are three papers published today, two in Science and one in Nature Astronomy.
In one of the new papers, there is a description of a new type of earthquake caused by a meteorite. The impact caused waves to travel across the planet's surface. This is the first time that type of wave has been seen off- Earth.
It was the first time we were able to look across Mars, instead of beneath it.
In the planet's north, the crust is denser than it is in the middle of the ocean. Waves travel at the same speeds in the southern highlands and northern lowlands as they do in the north.
There were two impact events, one on December 24 and the other on September 18. The largest of the impact craters in September was almost 500 feet wide.
The impact site was seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been analyzing the surface of the Red Planet. The impact craters the spacecraft sees are usually smaller.
According to the director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, the asteroid that caused the crater was between 17 and 33 feet in diameter.
We've learned a lot about Mars. A great science result to end on. Going out in a big way.
Over 1,300 marsquakes have been detected by the landers seismometer. Marsquakes are important for planetary scientists to understand the interior of the planet. The findings can show how Mars formed and how active it is today.
Two weeks in a row, InSight detected its largest marsquake. The largest was magnitude 5 and it only caused minor damage.
Researchers didn't know where the earthquake started because of the tremors on Mars. The origins of the waves can be difficult to determine by the time InSight is able to detect them.
The epicenters of about 20 recent earthquakes were in the central region of the Elysium Planitia. The team found evidence of volcanic activity in the area when they compared the marsquakes with the images of Cerberus Fossae. Some scientists are debating if there are still active volcanoes on Mars.
According to Simon Sthler, the lead author of the paper, the earthquakes have a weak, relatively soft crust. They don't sound high pitched. It's similar to when you break a soft wax candle.
Sthler's team was told by the signature that there could still be molten lava on Mars.
Mars was volcanically active a long time ago. The Perseverance rover, which is about 2,000 miles from InSight, is finding more volcanic rock than scientists anticipated. It shows that volcanism could still be relevant in shaping the Martian surface.
NASA stated in June that the mission could end sooner because the team wanted to collect more data than the landers lifespan. What is the point of having an active science mission if it isn't doing any science?
A NASA spokesman told Gizmodo in September that the landers could die between October and January. The amount of dust that sticks to the solar panels is what determines its true expiration date. The problem with the dust on Mars is that it sticks to the robot's body.
The teams are hoping that InSight will send more data before it shuts down. Sthler said his team is expecting the lander to persist for about four to eight more weeks. Bruce Banerdt said the same thing during a NASA press conference.
Dirt was dumped on the panels in an effort to get rid of some of the dust. InSight has already survived beyond expectations.
There will be no other stations on Mars when InSight is done. The landers work on the planet has exceeded expectations and it is in sight.
The images of Mars for the first time are from a space telescope.