Initial results from the InSight mission on Mars

Research areas:
  • W. Bruce Banerdt
  • Suzanne E. Smrekar
  • Don Banfield
  • Domenico Giardini
  • Matthew Golombek
  • Catherine L. Johnson
  • Philippe Lognonne
  • Aymeric Spiga
  • Tilman Spohn
  • Clement Perrin
  • Simon C. Staehler
  • Daniele Antonangeli
  • Sami Asmar
  • Caroline Beghein
  • Neil Bowles
  • Ebru Bozdag
  • Peter Chi
  • Ulrich Christensen
  • John Clinton
  • Gareth S. Collins
  • Ingrid Daubar
  • Veronique Dehant
  • Matthew Fillingim
  • William Folkner
  • Raphael F. Garcia
  • Jim Garvin
  • John Grant
  • Matthias Grott
  • Jerzy Grygorczuk
  • Troy Hudson
  • Jessica C. E. Irving
  • Guenter Kargl
  • Taichi Kawamura
  • Sharon Kedar
  • Scott King
  • Brigitte Knapmeyer-Endrun
  • Martin Knapmeyer
  • Mark Lemmon
  • Ralph Lorenz
  • Justin N. Maki
  • Ludovic Margerin
  • Scott M. McLennan
  • Chloe Michaut
  • David Mimoun
  • Anna Mittelholz
  • Antoine Mocquet
  • Paul Morgan
  • Nils T. Mueller
  • Naomi Murdoch
  • Seiichi Nagihara
  • Claire Newman
  • Francis Nimmo
  • Mark Panning
  • W. Thomas Pike
  • Ana-Catalina Plesa
  • Sebastien Rodriguez
  • Jose Antonio Rodriguez-Manfredi
  • Christopher T. Russell
  • Nicholas Schmerr
  • Matt Siegler
  • Sabine Stanley
  • Eleanore Stutzmann
  • Nicholas Teanby
  • Jeroen Tromp
  • Martin Van Driel
  • Nicholas Warner
  • Renee Weber
  • Mark Wieczorek
NASA's InSight (Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations,
Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission landed in Elysium Planitia on Mars
on 26 November 2018. It aims to determine the interior structure,
composition and thermal state of Mars, as well as constrain present-day
seismicity and impact cratering rates. Such information is key to
understanding the differentiation and subsequent thermal evolution of
Mars, and thus the forces that shape the planet's surface geology and
volatile processes. Here we report an overview of the first ten months
of geophysical observations by InSight. As of 30 September 2019, 174
seismic events have been recorded by the lander's seismometer, including
over 20 events of moment magnitude M-w = 3-4. The detections thus far
are consistent with tectonic origins, with no impact-induced seismicity
yet observed, and indicate a seismically active planet. An assessment of
these detections suggests that the frequency of global seismic events
below approximately M-w = 3 is similar to that of terrestrial intraplate
seismic activity, but there are fewer larger quakes; no quakes exceeding
M-w = 4 have been observed. The lander's other instruments-two cameras,
atmospheric pressure, temperature and wind sensors, a magnetometer and a
radiometer-have yielded much more than the intended supporting data for
seismometer noise characterization: magnetic field measurements indicate
a local magnetic field that is ten-times stronger than orbital estimates
and meteorological measurements reveal a more dynamic atmosphere than
expected, hosting baroclinic and gravity waves and convective vortices.
With the mission due to last for an entire Martian year or longer, these
results will be built on by further measurements by the InSight lander.
Geophysical and meteorological measurements by NASA's InSight lander on
Mars reveal a planet that is seismically active and provide information
about the interior, surface and atmospheric workings of Mars.