NASA的洞察号着陆器正在红色行星上正式地开展搜寻地震的工作

This image from NASA's InSight Mars lander, taken on Jan. 7, 2019, shows the SEIS seismograph instrument deployed on the Martian surface to measure Marsquakes.

根据建造此地震仪的法国航天局的说法,这个用于叫做SEIS的内部结构地震实验的超级灵敏地震仪已经通过了最初的实验,目前工作正常。

“这是一个具有历史意义的时刻,也是地球物理学重大的希望,”法国航天局的官员正式说道。“美国的NASA在1975年发射的海盗1和海盗2航天飞船上都带着一个地震仪。其中的一个地震仪的功能失效,另一个地震仪安装在舱面上,由于它对风产生的周围的背景噪声过于敏感而没能检测到火星的震动。SEIS是此类仪器中第一个被放置在火星地表上的。”

洞察号着陆器于11月26日在火星上登陆。12月19日,它用像起重机的机器手臂使SEIS在火星的地表上展开。洞察号将迅速地在SEIS地震仪上面安装一个特殊的盖子覆盖住SEIS地震仪之上,以使它免受火星上的风和极端的温度的侵扰。

法国航天局的官员说道,自从NASA的阿波罗17号在月球上登陆后宇航员哈里森·施密特有效地利用那次任务的阿波罗月球表面实验包——一个含有月球地震仪的传感器组件以来,SEIS是第一个开始在另一个世界里成功地开始工作的地震仪。

SEIS由三个钛球体中的超静谧的振动传感器组成,被置于真空中。一个用来给它的系统供电的电子拴绳和加热器在1月6日被配置好。根据法国航天局,SEIS传感器“正在开始记录每分钟的地面移位”。

洞察号的SEIS是这个着陆器将要调动的两个工具中的一个。另外一个是用来挖掘的一个工具,叫做具有热流和物理特性的探头,或者HP3。执行航天任务的科学家们将要利用敏感的地震仪去检测火星震和陨石的撞击、研究火星内部的结构;利用HP3记录着关于热量如何在这个星球的地表里移动的。为了帮助科学家们研究这个行星的震动,洞察号也要做一个无线电实验。

NASA在2018年5月份发射了85千万美元的洞察号着陆器(它的名字是使用地震勘探、测地学和热量转移的简称)。人们期待它能用至少一个火星年——大约两个地球年的时间来研究火星的内部。

NASA’s InSight Lander on Mars Is Now Hunting for Marsquakes

This image from NASA’s InSight Mars lander, taken on Jan. 7, 2019, shows the SEIS seismograph instrument deployed on the Martian surface to measure Marsquakes.

NASA’s InSight Mars lander is officially hunting for quakes on the Red Planet.

The lander’s ultrasensitive seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), has passed its initial tests and is working working well, according to the French space agency CNES, which built the lander’s instrument.

“This is a historic moment and a great hope for geophysics,” CNES officials said in a statement. “The two U.S. Viking 1 and Viking 2 missions launched by NASA in 1975 were each carrying a seismometer. One failed to function, while the other — fixed to the deck of the lander — was unable to measure Mars’ seismic activity as it was too sensitive to the background noise generated by winds. SEIS is thus the first instrument of its kind to be placed on the surface of the Red Planet.” [NASA’s InSight Mars Lander: Full Coverage]

The InSight lander touched down on Mars Nov. 26 and used its crane-like robotic arm to deploy the SEIS instrument on the Martian surface on Dec. 19. On Jan. 1, InSight celebrated the new year by testing the seismograph, CNES officials said. InSight will soon deploy a special cover over the SEIS instrument to protect it from the Martian wind and extreme temperatures.

SEIS is the first seismometer to successfully begin work on another world since NASA’s Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972, when astronaut Harrison Schmitt deployed a that mission’s Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package — a sensor suite that included a lunar seismometer, CNES officials said. SEIS is made up of three ultraprecise seismic sensors surrounded by a vacuum inside a titanium sphere. An electronic tether to power its systems and heaters was deployed on Jan. 6, and the SEIS sensors “are beginning to record minute ground displacements.” according to CNES.

InSight’s SEIS instrument is one of two tools the lander will deploy on the surface of Mars. The other is a burrowing tool called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe, or HP3. Mission scientists will use the sensitive seismometer to detect Marsquakes, meteorite impacts and to study the structure of the interior of Mars, with the HP3 tool recording observations on how heat moves through the planet’s surface. InSight also carries a radio experiment to help scientists study the planet’s wobble.

NASA launched the $850 million InSight lander (its name is short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) in May 2018. It is expected to study the interior of Mars for at least one Martian year, which is about the equivalent of two Earth years.

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