The MarsQuake project is intended to provide a set of teaching resources and classroom activities that will use the latest data and images sent back from the NASA InSight mission to Mars.

Aimed at 11–18 year-olds (KS3–5), these activities include modelling and locating meteorite impacts known as 'marsquakes'.

Download the MarsQuake, Seismology on another planet, background science booklet, to find out more or Download the MarsQuake classroom activity worksheets.

Classroom activity resource sheet downloads

Launch and landing timeline

InSight successfully launched on 5 May 2018 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The cruise phase to Mars lasts about six months. Landing, in the Elysium Planitia region, is scheduled for 26 November 2018.

InSight will deploy two seismometers that will send the latest data back to Earth by early 2019. It offers our first chance to look at extra-terrestrial 'quake' data since the Apollo moon missions of the late 1960s–early-1970s.

Data from InSight's seismometers will be transmitted back to Earth and be freely accessible from the IRIS website. The mission is expected to last at least a year and should send back a continuous stream of data for scientists — and students — to analyse.

Why did Mars evolve differently from Earth?

Gathering detailed knowledge of the interior of Mars, and comparing it to Earth, will help scientists better understand how terrestrial planets form and evolve.

What is the core of Mars made of? Is the inner core solid or liquid?

Why is the crust of Mars not made up of moving tectonic plates like the Earth's?

Learn more by downloading the MarsQuake Mars Facts.

Classroom activities

The activities that have been developed involve a mixture of real science data from Mars and simple classroom simulations.

  1. Finding meteorite impacts on Mars using hi-resolution satellite imagery of Mars from the HiRise Orbiter
  2. Simulating meteorite impacts, cratering, in the classroom with ball-drop experiments
  3. Studying seismic waves in the classroom
  4. Detecting seismic waves with simple sensors in the classroom, using tablets and smartphones, homemade seismometers and simple accelerometers
  5. Analysing seismic events from a single station using data from earthquakes, impacts and explosions, ‘moonquakes’, and eventually data from Mars.

Students will be shown how to look at seismic data using simple spreadsheets, semi-professional analysis software and simple computer programs that they could write themselves.

Download the MarsQuake classroom activity worksheets.

How will MarsQuake be delivered to schools?

MarsQuake online resources and background science booklet were made available from the British Geological Survey website in spring 2018. The National Space Academy delivered teacher training, via its network of 'lead educators', to approximately 600 secondary school teachers, from late 2018.

MarsQuake, Seismology on another planet.

Project partners and funding

The MarsQuake education project is a UK Space Agency-funded initiative led the British Geological Survey with partners from the National Space Academy, University of Leicester and University of Bristol.

UK Space Agency


Contact, for further information.

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