Seismic Missions to Space Could Reveal Mysteries: Study
Washington, 28 Jul (ONA) --- The astronaut of Apollo 11 in July 1969 Buzz Aldrin radioed a message back to Earth: “Houston, the passive seismometer has been deployed manually.” and despite this initial and a few subsequent attempts, interplanetary seismology remained on the sidelines of space exploration for the rest of the 20th century.
Now things are changing, NASA sent a few years ago a mission which carried a seismometer to Mars. New seismometers are currently being developed for deployment across the solar system, from the moon to the far-flung icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn.
“This has the potential to be the beginning of a new golden age” in which scientists will peel back the layers on moons and planets alike to glimpse their hidden innards, says Mark Panning, a planetary seismologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
Earth is, relatively speaking, a very active planet of shifting, sliding tectonic plates, erupting volcanoes and crust-shattering quakes. These powerful events produce seismic waves, which reverberate through Earth’s interior. Seismometers can track these seismic waves to reveal their propagation, intensity and sources. These instruments routinely record seismic waves traversing Earth’s crust and mantle and even bouncing off our planet’s core, yielding otherwise-unobtainable information about the subsurface.
These same sorts of observations can be used to look inside other worlds and see how their geological guts compare to our own which can be achieved through seismology.
Seismology was below the radar despite numerous attempts by scientists to include seismometers on various planetary missions, the Scientific American news reported.