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NASA lander detects mysterious rumblings from inside Mars.

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  • Tip Bones

According to NASA scientists, NASA's Insight lander on Mars has detected strange rumblings emanating from the planet's interior.

According to the researchers, the seismic events may be triggered by a sudden release of energy from the planet's interior, but the origin of that release is unclear and puzzling.

Surprisingly, the recent rumblings are thought to have originated in Cerberus Fossae, a place on Mars where two previous candidate events are thought to have originated.

While these rumblings have been entitled "Marsquakes," the planet's tectonic structure is not thought to be as powerful as Earth's, which triggers earthquakes.

Surprisingly, the previous seismic events observed by NASA's InSight lander - which landed on Mars' surface in 2018 - happened almost a whole Martian year ago, or two Earth years ago, during the planet's northern summer.

Scientists expected that since the planet's winds would become calmer this season, the lander would have the best opportunity to listen for quakes.

The seismometer used by InSight, known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), is so sensitive that it must be protected from the wind and prevented from freezing while in operation.

Despite this, the wind can still cause enough vibration to obscure the seismic signals the NASA team is searching for, so they've started working on insulating the sensitive cable.

To achieve this, the team used the scoop on InSight's robotic arm to shimmy soil on top of the dome-shaped shield, allowing it to drip down onto the wire.

The goal is to allow the soil to get as close to the shield as possible without compromising its ground seal.

One of the targets of the next phase of the project, which NASA recently extended by two years to December 2022, is to bury the seismic tether itself.

Despite the disruption that the wind is causing to InSight's seismometer, it isn't helping the lander's solar panels, which are still coated in dust.

When Mars moves away from the sun, its energy levels are expected to drop, but after July, as the planet starts to orbit the sun again, energy levels are expected to rise.

Until then, the team will turn off each of InSight's instruments one by one to allow it to hibernate, waking only to check its own health and send a message back to Earth.

NASA stated that the team hopes to keep the seismometer operational for another month or two before turning it off.