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  • InSight is able to place its seismometer directly on the surface of the planet.

    InSight is able to place its seismometer directly on the surface of the planet. | Photo: @NASAInSight

Published 24 April 2019

The group of scientists theorizes that the slow cooling of the planet triggers quakes since Mars does not sport the tectonic plates like Earth.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) InSight lander recorded seismic waves traveling through the interior of the planet Mars - believed to be the first marsquake, according to scientists.

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"We've been waiting months for our first marsquake," Philippe Lognonne, the principal investigator for the seismometer instrument, said in a statement released by the French space agency.

"It's so exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active.”

The group of scientists theorizes that the slow cooling of the planet triggers quakes since Mars does not sport the tectonic plates like Earth.

"InSight's first readings carry on the science that began with the Apollo missions," Bruce Banerdt, a geophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and principal investigator on the InSight mission, added.

"We've been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology."

The instrument is also designed to trace reverberations from meteorite strikes and from self-hammering heat probe.

Unlike other probes, InSight is also able to place its seismometer directly on the surface of the planet. The Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure has insulating barriers designed to limit the influence of changes in the weather allowing the recording of subtle movement while weaker events were captured using extra-sensitive Very Broad Band sensors.

Researchers are still trying to pinpoint the exact cause of the marsquake.

There were previous events on March 14th, April 10th and April 11th, but deemed too faint to definitively stated that they were tremors.

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