NASA's InSight lander's seismometer on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On April 6, NASA's InSight lander measured its first quake on Mars, a significant milestone for the spacecraft.

Why it matters: InSight was sent to Mars specifically to measure seismic activity on the Red Planet. The "Marsquake" it felt earlier this month was small, but it marks the lander's first likely detection of a quake. NASA hopes to use seismic data collected by InSight to map Mars' interior, potentially helping scientists understand how the world formed.

"We've been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology," InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt said in a statement.

Background: InSight landed on Mars in November 2018 after launching to space in May 2018. The spacecraft deployed its seismometer in December 2018, and since then, it has been keeping an ear to the ground for quakes.

  • NASA said that InSight had detected three other possible quakes, but they were even fainter than the one recorded on April 6, so their origins remain a mystery.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 31,735,542 — Total deaths: 973,443 Total recoveries: 21,798,488Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 6,925,840 — Total deaths: 201,617 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Poll: 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  6. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.

Trump says he wants 9 justices in case Supreme Court must decide 2020 election

President Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that part of his urgency to quickly push through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump claimed at the Republican National Convention that the only way he will lose the election is if it is "rigged," and he has declined to say whether he would accept the results of November's election if he loses to Joe Biden.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

The state of play: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!