Science 2 min read

NASA InSight Lander Detects Marsquake for the First Time

Image courtesy of JPL/NASA

Image courtesy of JPL/NASA

The French space agency, which operates the seismometer of the NASA InSight lander, confirmed that it has finally recorded the first Mars earthquake or Marsquake. For years, scientists have suspected that Marsquakes occur in the Red Planet. However, with no equipment to prove it, it has remained a theory – until now.

Bruce Banerdt, the InSight’s principal investigator from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement:

“InSight’s first readings carry on the science that began with the Apollo missions. We’ve been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology.”

The seismic activity was detected by the French SEIS seismometer attached to the InSight on the surface of Mars on April 6th, the mission’s 128th day on Mars. The quake signal detected by the instrument resembled those recorded on the surface of the Moon during the Apollo missions.


According to NASA, the Sol 128 Marsquake is the first ever quake detected on Mars. The movement also appeared to have come from within the planet and not from shaking caused by powerful winds which are common on the surface of the Red Planet.

Unfortunately, the seismic action was too small to yield any useful data that scientists can use to study the interior of Mars. According to NASA, the signal was so weak it would not register on instruments here on Earth. But, Mars’ still surface allowed InSight’s highly sensitive seismometer to pick up the faint shaking of the planet.

Philippe Lognonné, a geophysicist at the IPGP Earth physics institute in Paris and the principal investigator for SEIS, said:

“We’ve been waiting months for our first marsquake. It’s so exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active. We’re looking forward to sharing detailed results once we’ve studied it more and modeled our data.”

Read More: China Unveils Massive Mars Simulation Camp

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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