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InSight’s seismometer detects its first new impact on Mars

Martian impact discovered by InSight
Click for full image.

Using data from InSight’s seismometer that suggested a new impact had occurred at a specific location on September 5, 2022 on Mars, scientists used the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to search and find that impact.

The photo to the right, reduced to post here, is that MRO photo.

The initial impact itself created a small marsquake that was detected by InSight’s seismometer. The instrument recorded seismological data that showed the moment the meteoroid entered Mars’ atmosphere, its explosion into pieces in the atmosphere, and finally, the impact that created a series of at least three craters in the surface.

MRO then flew over the approximate site where the impact was “felt” to look for darkened patches of ground using its Context Camera. After finding this location, HiRISE captured the scene in color. The ground is not actually blue; this enhanced-color image highlights certain hues in the scene to make details more visible to the human eye – in this case, dust and soil disturbed by the impact.

This was thus the first new Martian impact detected based on its actual occurrence, rather than simply finding a change between two photos taken at different times. The latter only tells you a time period when the impact occurred. InSight’s detection here marks the impact’s exact moment.

Nor is this the only such discovery. It appears that InSight detected at least two other impacts (here and here), that only subsequently were linked to MRO impacts. In those cases, the new impact had already been found by MRO, and only afterward were scientists able to identify its seismic vibration in InSight data, thus pinpointing the exact date it took place.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

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