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InSight on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's InSight lander on Mars felt two relatively large quakes shake the Red Planet last month.

Why it matters: InSight uses these shakes on Mars — caused by volcanic activity — to learn more about the interior of the planet.

What they found: The two quakes, which were felt on March 7 and March 18, were magnitudes 3.3 and 3.1.

  • "It’s wonderful to once again observe marsquakes after a long period of recording wind noise," John Clinton, an InSight scientist, said in a statement. "One Martian year on, we are now much faster at characterizing seismic activity on the Red Planet."
  • The quakes seemed to come from a region called Cerberus Fossae, the same area where two other strong shakes were felt earlier in the mission.
  • The waves from all four of those relatively strong quakes traveled like quakes do on Earth — through the planet. Other shakes on Mars have been more like those seen on the Moon, which are more "scattered," according to NASA.

What's next: NASA extended InSight's mission on Mars by two years, to at least December 2022.

  • The lander will continue to listen for shakes on the planet, but the spacecraft's solar panels are covered in dust and its power is low, according to NASA.
  • The agency expects power levels to bounce back once the planet comes back toward the Sun, after July, but for now, mission managers are going to turn instruments off as needed to allow the lander to hibernate.
  • "The team hopes to keep the seismometer on for another month or two before it has to be temporarily turned off," NASA said in the statement.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 3, 2021 - Science

Companies race to design private space stations before ISS goes offline

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Companies are rapidly designing private space stations that could one day dominate operations in orbit around Earth.

Why it matters: NASA is hoping private industry will start to take over operations in low-Earth orbit once the International Space Station comes to an end, creating a robust commercial market in that part of space.

6 mins ago - Health

The floodgates have opened for vaccine mandates

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

State governments, private businesses and even part of the federal government are suddenly embracing mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for their employees.

Why it matters: Vaccine mandates have been relatively uncommon in the U.S. But with vaccination rates stagnating and the Delta variant driving yet another wave of cases, there's been a new groundswell of support for such requirements.

Updated 30 mins ago - Sports

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic Games tennis tournament

Czech 42nd-ranked Marketa Vondrousova (L) shakes hands with Japan's Naomi Osaka after their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics Games after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Of note: Japan's Osaka is the women's world No. 2, while is Vondrousova ranked No.42.