NASA’s InSight spacecraft detects its first possible ‘marsquake’ on the Red Planet

<em>An artistic rendering of NASA’s InSight lander with both of its main instruments deployed.</em>

NASA’s InSight lander, which has been sitting on the surface of Mars since November, just detected its first quake on the Red Planet. It’s a big first in the spacecraft’s ongoing mission to listen for rumblings coming from inside the planet. Unfortunately, the so-called “marsquake” was too small to help scientists learn more about Mars’ structure. But the event proves that Mars is seismically active and that InSight might be able to pick up more quakes in the future.

Launched in May 2018, the InSight lander has a relatively simple goal: sit still on Mars and listen for these marsquakes. To do this, the spacecraft is equipped with an incredibly sensitive, dome-shaped seismometer built by France’s space agency, CNES. The instrument is so…

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