Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Marsquake detection sensors will take search for water underground

31.05.2002


Researchers at Imperial College London have just begun a 5-year project to design and build tiny earthquake measuring devices to go to Mars on the 2007 NetLander mission.


A microseismometer machined out of a single piece of silicon. The central rectangular weight is attached by two springs to a surrounding frame.
© Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine


Unlike the instruments on next year`s European Mars Express/Beagle II mission, the Marsquake sensors will be the first to look deep inside the planet.

The internal structure of Mars is a key to understanding some fundamental questions about the planet including whether life ever existed there.

The sensors are capable of detecting liquid water reservoirs hidden below the surface, where life could possibly survive on Mars today. The recent discovery by the Mars Odyssey orbiter of large amounts of ice at the poles opens up the possibility of liquid water existing in the warmer conditions underground near the Martian equator.



Dr Tom Pike, of Imperial College London, is designing the heart of the sensor, a two-centimetre square of silicon.

"We`re micromachining a near-perfect spring and weight from a single piece of silicon. We`ll be able to detect the weight shuddering in response to a Marsquake from anywhere on the planet," he said.

The 2007 NetLander mission, led by the French space agency, CNES, will land four modules across the surface of Mars, each containing instruments to look at the structure and weather of Mars on a global scale. All four will be near the equator.

"The network of instruments will help us to pinpoint each Marsquake by triangulation," said Dr Pike. "We`ll look at how the vibrations from Marsquakes travel through the planet and work out what`s going on deep inside. If these vibrations hit liquid water under the landing sites, we should see a distinctive signature. That`s when the search for life on Mars will move underground."

Dr Pike is currently building up the team at Imperial College to develop the sensors under a contract from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire, is providing the fabrication facilities. The Marsquake instrument consortium includes Imperial College, NASA`s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, the Institute de Physique du Globe in Paris and ETH, Zurich.

Tom Miller | alphagalileo

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere
27.03.2017 | CAGE - Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment

nachricht Weather extremes: Humans likely influence giant airstreams
27.03.2017 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Weather extremes: Humans likely influence giant airstreams

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>