TechStrange phenomenon on Mars. Scientists have a clue

Strange phenomenon on Mars. Scientists have a clue

The Red Planet through the lens of the Mars Express probe.
The Red Planet through the lens of the Mars Express probe.
Images source: © ESA
ed. KLT

10:06 AM EDT, October 19, 2023

Scientists have been working on this topic for over a year. In May of last year, there was a strong tremor on Mars. Since then, researchers have been trying to explain the cause of its formation. They have finally found a solution to this issue.

A team of researchers from various parts of the world, which included scientists from Europe, China, India, and Saudi Arabia, led by the University of Oxford, announced that they discovered the cause of the largest recorded earthquake on Mars to date. This phenomenon occurred in May 2022 and was not caused by the impact of a meteorite, as scientists initially suggested.

In May of last year, NASA's InSight lander recorded a 4.7 magnitude quake on Mars. This quake, which spread across the planet's surface for another six hours, was designated as S1222a. Its characteristics were similar to previous quakes which were the result of meteorite impacts, which led scientists to initially suspect that a similar event might have occurred this time.

To accurately identify the source of the shake, scientists conducted a detailed analysis of data from various probes. Among other things, they searched for a potential crater or dust cloud that could indicate a meteorite impact. In this process, data from various instruments proved to be crucial, as experts emphasize.

After several months of intensive searching, researchers did not find any traces of an impact. They therefore deduce that the tremor was caused by the release of powerful tectonic forces accumulated in the crust of Mars.

- We still believe that Mars does not currently show active plate tectonics, so this event was probably caused by the release of stresses accumulated in the crust of Mars. These stresses are the result of billions of years of evolution, including cooling and shrinking of different parts of the planet, occurring at different rates. We still don't fully understand why some areas seem to have more stress than others, but results like these help us delve into this issue. These insights may eventually help us understand which areas on Mars are safe for humans, and which are better avoided - says Dr. Benjamin Fernando, co-author of a study published in the journal "Geophysical Research Letters".

Dr. Fernando also added: "This project was based on a tremendous international effort aimed at unraveling the mystery of S1222a. I am extremely grateful to all the missions that contributed to it. I hope this project will serve as a blueprint for international cooperation in deep space".

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