Seismic constraints from a Mars impact experiment using InSight and Perseverance

Fernando, Benjamin; Wójcicka, Natalia; Maguire, Ross; Stähler, Simon C.; Stott, Alexander E.; Ceylan, Savas; Charalambous, Constantinos; Clinton, John; Collins, Gareth S.; Dahmen, Nikolaj; Froment, Marouchka; Golombek, Matthew; Horleston, Anna; Karatekin, Ozgur; Kawamura, Taichi; Larmat, Carene; Nissen-Meyer, Tarje; Patel, Manish. R.; Plasman, Matthieu; Posiolova, Lilya; Rolland, Lucie and Spiga, Aymeric (2022). Seismic constraints from a Mars impact experiment using InSight and Perseverance. Nature Astronomy, 6 pp. 59–64.



NASA’s InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission has operated a sophisticated suite of seismology and geophysics instruments on the surface of Mars since its arrival in 2018. On 18 February 2021, we attempted to detect the seismic and acoustic waves produced by the entry, descent and landing of the Perseverance rover using the sensors onboard the InSight lander. Similar observations have been made on Earth using data from both crewed and uncrewed spacecraft, and on the Moon during the Apollo era, but never before on Mars or another planet. This was the only seismic event to occur on Mars since InSight began operations that had an a priori known and independently constrained timing and location. It therefore had the potential to be used as a calibration for other marsquakes recorded by InSight. Here we report that no signal from Perseverance’s entry, descent and landing is identifiable in the InSight data. Nonetheless, measurements made during the landing window enable us to place constraints on the distance–amplitude relationships used to predict the amplitude of seismic waves produced by planetary impacts and place in situ constraints on Martian impact seismic efficiency (the fraction of the impactor kinetic energy converted into seismic energy).

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