InSight’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) provides a unique and unprecedented opportunity to conduct the first geotechnical survey of the Martian soil by taking advantage of the repeated seismic signals that will be generated by the mole of the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3). Knowledge of the elastic properties of the Martian regolith have implications to material strength and can constrain models of water content, and provide context to geological processes and history that have acted on the landing site in western Elysium Planitia. Moreover, it will help to reduce travel-time errors introduced into the analysis of seismic data due to poor knowledge of the shallow subsurface. The challenge faced by the InSight team is to overcome the limited temporal resolution of the sharp hammer signals, which have significantly higher frequency content than the SEIS 100 Hz sampling rate. Fortunately, since the mole propagates at a rate of ∼1mm per stroke down to 5 m depth, we anticipate thousands of seismic signals, which will vary very gradually as the mole travels. Using a combination of field measurements and modeling we simulate a seismic data set that mimics the InSight HP3-SEIS scenario, and the resolution of the InSight seismometer data. We demonstrate that the direct signal, and more importantly an anticipated reflected signal from the interface between the bottom of the regolith layer and an underlying lava flow, are likely to be observed both by Insight’s Very Broad Band (VBB) seismometer and Short Period (SP) seismometer. We have outlined several strategies to increase the signal temporal resolution using the multitude of hammer stroke and internal timing information to stack and interpolate multiple signals, and demonstrated that in spite of the low resolution, the key parameters—seismic velocities and regolith depth—can be retrieved with a high degree of confidence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science