(TIME) — NASA’s newest Mars lander has confirmed that quakes and even aftershocks are regularly jolting the red planet.
NASA's newest Mars lander has confirmed that quakes and even aftershocks are regularly jolting the red planet.
InSight landed in a small crater in Mars’ Elysium Planitia in November 2018. Its French seismometer was placed directly on the volcanic plain the following month.
This region has especially turbulent weather, with dust devil-like vortexes.
The lander still has another year of geologic observations for a total of two years, or one full Martian year. There likely are more quakes occurring than the seismometer is registering; interference from wind and other weather conditions can mask the measurements.
A series of research papers focus on the 174 marsquakes noted through last September. Twenty-four were relatively strong — magnitude 3 to 4 — and apparently stemmed from distant underground triggers. The rest were smaller, with uncertain magnitude and origin. Even the stronger quakes would not have posed a hazard to anybody on the planet’s surface, researchers said in a press conference.