InSite Heard Four Meteoroids Crash Into Mars

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InSite Heard Four Meteoroids Crash Into Mars

Post by fred8615 »

For the first time, a spacecraft has detected acoustic and seismic waves from impacts on Mars. NASA’s InSight lander made the detections from four meteoroids that crashed on Mars in 2020 and 2021. Ever since the mission landed on the Red Planet in 2018, scientists have been hoping to be able to detect impacts with InSight’s seismometer, which was mainly designed to sense Marsquakes. But these impacts are the first the lander has detected.

The first of the four confirmed meteoroids – the term used for space rocks before they hit the ground – made the most dramatic splotch. It entered Mars’ atmosphere on Sept. 5, 2021, exploding into at least three shards that each left a crater behind.

For confirmation, InSight’s scientists worked with the team from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was scheduled to fly over the estimated impact site, and bingo, it found the impacts. The orbiter used its black-and-white Context Camera to reveal three darkened spots on the surface. After locating these spots, the orbiter’s team used the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera, or HiRISE, to get a color close-up of the craters. Scientists say the meteoroid could have left additional craters in the surface, but they would be too small to see in HiRISE’s images.

“After three years of InSight waiting to detect an impact, those craters looked beautiful,” said Ingrid Daubar of Brown University, a co-author of a paper detailing the findings, published in Nature Geoscience.

Read more: ... into-mars/
Frederick J. Barnett
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