Mars: NASA broadcasts audio of the largest meteorite impact ever recorded on the Red Planet
Science and Technology

Mars: NASA broadcasts audio of the largest meteorite impact ever recorded on the Red Planet

The crater, about 150 meters in diameter and 20 meters deep, was caused by a meteorite on Mars, on December 24, 2021.

To untrained ears, the one-minute recording is nothing but a vague, jumbled echo. For space professionals, sound is historic. On Thursday, October 27, NASA published an audio recording of an earthquake that was seen on the surface of Mars, on December 24, 2021, after a meteor hit the surface of the Red Planet.

The tremors, with a magnitude of 4, were detected by the InSight probe and its seismometer, which were placed on the surface of Mars nearly four years ago, about 3,500 kilometers from the impact site. The origin of this Mars quake has only been confirmed for the second time by the spacecraft called the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Orbiting the planet, it captured images of the newly formed crater within twenty-four hours of the event.

The picture is impressive: blocks of ice were thrown to the surface, and a crater with a diameter of about 150 meters and a depth of 20 meters was drilled. The largest number ever observed since the launch of the MRO orbital vehicle, sixteen years ago. Although meteor impacts on Mars are not uncommon, “We never thought we’d see something this big”said Thursday at a press conference Ingrid Dubard, who works on the Insight and MRO missions.

12 meters meteorite

The researchers estimate that the meteorite itself should have been about 12 meters away – which on Earth would have caused it to disintegrate in the atmosphere. “This is simply the biggest meteor impact on Earth that’s been heard since we’ve been doing science with seismographs or seismometers.”explained to AFP, Philippe Legnonier, a professor of planetary science who participated in two studies that resulted from these observations, published Thursday in the journal. Science.

Read also: This article is reserved for our subscribers On Mars, InSight hears meteors falling

The information collected should allow improving the inner knowledge of Mars and its formation history. The presence of ice, in particular, is “Surprise”confirmed Ingrid Dubar, who also co-authored the two studies. “It’s the hottest spot on Mars, and it’s closest to the equator, where we’ve seen ice.”

In addition to the scientific interest in this discovery to study the climate of Mars, the presence of water at this latitude can prove ” very useful “ “Future explorers,” Laurie Glaese, NASA’s director of planetary sciences, told future explorers. “We would like to land the astronauts as close to the equator as possible”She said, because of the high temperatures. However, the ice on site can then be converted to water or oxygen.

1300 “earthquake”

The impact of the meteorite was strong enough to generate body waves (spread to the core) and surface waves (passing the planet’s crust horizontally), which allowed to study the structure in detail.inside Mars. Thus, it was found that the crust on which InSight is located is less dense than the one that was traversed from the impact site.

As expected, the Insight probe is now running in slow motion due to the dust accumulating on its solar panels. The connection may now be lost “About four to eight weeks”Who thought it was, said Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Thursday “sad” But he welcomed the success of the mission, which spotted more than 1,300 . “Marsquix”.

Read also: This article is reserved for our subscribers Mars may have hosted a large polar ocean 3 billion years ago

The world with AFP

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