Mars

NASA's InSight lander can help detect "marsquakes"

The Mars InSight lander's seismometer deployed on the surface of Mars. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Thanks to the Mars InSight lander, for the first time, we can now detect in near real time earthquakes on another planet. Specifically, we can now detect "marsquakes." How cool is that?

Why it matters: The deployment of the InSight lander's first science instrument onto Martian soil since the spacecraft landed on Nov. 26 marks the beginning of studies that aim to learn more about Mars' interior, in the hopes that we will learn more about how the Red Planet formed.

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Mars InSight Lander sets new solar power record

A replica of the InSight Mars Lander is on display at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California
A replica of the InSight Mars Lander. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

After NASA’s InSight lander touched down smoothly on Mars last month, it extended both of its seven-foot-long solar panels, which it will use to collect energy and recharge its two lithium batteries.

Why it matters: On the first day of its mission, the lander generated 4,588 watt hours of energy. This set a new record for daily energy production among vehicles that have roamed Mars in the past, topping the Curiosity rover, at 2,806 watt hours daily, and the Phoenix lander, at 1,800.

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