NASA's marsquake-hunting lander has detected its two largest seismic events to date, reports Scott Dutfield for Space, thanks to the most sensitive siesmometer ever designed.
"Not only are they the largest and most distant events by a considerable margin, [the event dubbed] S1000a has a spectrum and duration unlike any other event previously observed," lead author Anna Horleston, a seismologist at the University of Bristol in the U.K., said in a statement released by the Seismological Society of America, which published the new research. "They truly are remarkable events in the Martian seismic catalog."
The first seismic event, called S0976a, was of magnitude 4.2, occurred on Aug. 25, 2021 and originated in the Valles Marineris, a vast network of canyons that extends 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers), on the opposite side of the planet from InSight.
The second marsquake, called S1000a, occurred 24 days later, on Sept. 18, 2021. This event was slightly smaller, at magnitude 4.1, and the marsquake's exact location remains unknown beyond that scientists have isolated it to the far side of Mars. S1000a also lasted for 94 minutes — the longest seismic event ever recorded on Mars.
I know the billionaire patrons behind it might catch a load of well-deserved flack, but I'm always rooting for commercial space travel. I don't know anyone that wouldn't want to add a quick jaunt to Space on their bucket list. Imagine taking a scoop around the planet that felt akin to a scenic Sunday drive.
The most frustrating part about watching any Blue Origin or SpaceX launch is not knowing if I was born too early to travel in Space. I know the technology exists, but I wonder if it will be something I could potentially afford in my lifetime. Because as it stands, they're only letting rich people into Space. One thing I was assuredly born too early for is a trip to Mars. And judging by the news this week, that might actually be a good thing.
You know, even though Matt Damon made it seem like a hoot- recycling his own waste to grow potatoes and such- I'll leave the traveling to Mars shtick to my great, great-grandkids.