NASA Mars lander captures strikes by 4 incoming space rocks
NASA Mars landercaptures strikes by 4 incoming space rocks
A NASAlander on Mars hascaptured the vibrations and sounds of four meteoroids striking the planet’ssurface. Scientists reported Monday that Mars In Sigh t detected seismic andacoustic waves from a series of impacts in 2020 and 2021. A satellite orbitingthe red planet confirmed the impact locations, as far as 180 miles (290kilometers) from the lander.
Scientistsare delighted by the detections — a first for another planet. The first confirmed meteoroidexploded into at least three pieces, each leaving its own crater. An 11-secondaudio snippet of this strike includes three “bloops,” as NASA callsthem, one of sounding like metal flapping loudly in the wind here on Earth.
“Afterthree years of InSight waiting to detect an impact, those craters lookedbeautiful,” BrownUniversity’s Ingrid Daubar, a co-author of the research paper in the journalNature Geoscience, said in a statement.
“Impactsare the clocks of the solar system,” French lead author Raphael Garcia said in a statement fromthe Higher Institute of Aeronautics and Space in Toulouse. “We need to know theimpact rate today to estimate the age of different surfaces.”
Launched in2018, In Sight has already detected more than 1,300 mars quakes. The largestmeasured a magnitude 5 earlier this year. By comparison, the mars quakesgenerated by the meteoroid impacts registered no more than a magnitude 2.TheAssociated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the HowardHughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education.