NASA’s InSight Lander Lowers Seismometer to Better Listen to Mars’ Interior


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NASA Insight lander has already begun working on the surface of the red planet as the robotic lander has lowered its seismometer and is leaning in for a better position to listen to Mars’ underground tremors.

Last month, the lander placed its seismometer into position on the surface of the planet and is now getting closer to the surface which will allow the instruments to pick up unprecedented details from Mars’ interior.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

This will allow the lander to pick up even the faintest of signals from the interior of the planet which may have been missed.

InSight has successfully leveler out the seismometer and adjusted its internal sensors ahead of lowering the instrument down to the Martian soil.

The process was Tweeted by InSight’s Twitter account:

“It’s always good to be centered and balanced,” wrote mission specialists.

As reported by experts, the slack in the instruments cable has also been released in order to prevent it fluttering around in the Martian wind. And with that, scientists say that the instrument was placed in a perfect position which will allow them to listen in into the interior of the planet like never before.

“My seismometer has now crouched down to its lowest level, for a better connection with Mars,” InSight’s Twitter account posted earlier.

“Faint signals are easier to hear if you keep your ear close to the ground.”

The first instrument was deployed by InSight in December of 2018. Images that followed showed the seismometer on the ground after it was placed into position by the lander’s robotic arm.

The instrument will help scientists listen into the waves that are traveling in the interior of the planet, which in turn could help solve the mystery behind Marsquakes which scientists believe occur regularly on the red planet.

Thankfully, all systems are a go as noted by mission specialists and the lander has been performing flawlessly.

“InSight’s timetable of activities on Mars has gone better than we hoped,” praised InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman.

“Getting the seismometer safely on the ground is an awesome Christmas present,” he added.

But before scientists deployed the seismometer (also known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS) onto the Martian surface, they first had to verify that InSight’s robotic arm was working properly.

Scientists also had to make sure that the terrain where the lander landed was clear of debris and figure out the best place to deploy its scientific instruments.

InSight carries three main scientific instruments:

The Seismometer can listen in on Mars interior.

The Landers Heat Probe will investigate how much heat is still flowing out of Mars and can drill into the Marita surface.

It also carries Radio Antennas which will help scientists understand how Mars’ interior affects the planet’s orbit around the sun.

“We look forward to popping some Champagne when we start to get data from InSight’s seismometer on the ground,” said InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt, based at JPL.

 


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