On May 4, NASA reported that its Insight Mars lander had detected the largest earthquake ever seen on another planet. The rover first landed on Mars in November 2018 and has heard 1,313 earthquakes since then, including the largest “Marscomp” recorded before August 2021.
Earthquakes are caused by changes in tectonic plates, but Mars does not have tectonic plates, and its crust is a massive plate, so NASA noted that the ‘Marscake’ is caused by pressure that causes rock cracks. Its crust
What does Insight tell us about Mars?
Basically, Insight is not really looking for life on Mars, but studying what Mars is made of, how much heat is emitted from it, and how its constituents are layered.
This is important because Mars and Earth were covered in the same-wet, warm and dense atmosphere 3-4 billion years ago before taking different paths. As the Earth continues to evolve, Mars ceases to change.
Using Insight, scientists are trying to compare Mars and Earth, and better understand how planetary starting materials are less likely to support life.
Insight’s command is unique because there are other missions on Mars that are looking for life on the planet. Things turn out to be the possibility that Mars’ atmosphere was once warm enough to allow water to flow through its surface, which means there could be life there.
What makes scientists curious about Mars is the existence of life on the planet because of the possible presence of liquid water in it, either in the past or on its surface. Scientists are curious about this because, as NASA puts it, “almost everywhere in the world we find water, we find life.”