Meteorite impacts on Mars are recorded for the first time

Decidedly, Toulouse is a true capital of Martian research. In addition to ChemCam laser spectrometers and super camera, the first Martian seismometer was also built there, with impressive precision. Though his retirement is imminent Following the near end of Insight’s mission, Six still amazes us, completing her latest science objective today. It is therefore a total success for the instrument, which has measured more than 1,300 earthquakes since the beginning of 2019.

The InSight lander recorded a meteoroid entering the thin atmosphere of Mars, its explosion, and then its impact on the ground. Listen to the recording captured on the surface of Mars. © NASA, JPL-Caltech

Tremendous documentation power.

More meteorite impacts are now detected on Mars than on Earth “, Raphaël García tells us, specifying that the only impact on Earth recorded by seismometers took place in Bolivia, creating a crater 10 meters in diameter. As a reminder, the Russian examples of Tunguska or Chelyabinsk they are explosions that occurred in the sky, not impacts.

The only time seismometer pinpointing was done was during a gas explosion in Germany. But, here, we are actually on Mars. And it was with the help of one of the eight probes in orbit around the planet that we were able to complete the work of Six: the seismometer locates the impacts, the CTX cameras and HiRise of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter confirm them, locate the craters by comparing before and after the impact, and even communicate information about their size. An event documentation power unmatched in space exploration and very useful in the future.

Artist's impression of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter over the planet Mars.  ©NASA

Artist’s impression of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter over the planet Mars. ©NASA

Manned Mission Applications

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