The MarsQuake project will 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 11–16 year-olds (KS3–4), these activities include modelling and locating meteorite impacts, or MarsQuakes, which will help us understand more about the internal structure of the ‘red planet’.

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

InSight, now launching in spring 20181, 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.

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.

1 NASA targets May 2018 launch of Mars InSight mission.


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 using NASA's Mars Facts.

Classroom activities

Activities being 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 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 will write themselves.

Classroom activity downloads.

How will MarsQuake be delivered to schools?

MarsQuake online resources and resource booklet will be made available from the British Geological Survey website by Spring 2018. The National Space Academy will deliver teacher training, to approximately 600 secondary school teachers, through the second half of 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. The project will develop a set of classroom activities and learning resources to support the mission.

UK Space Agency


Contact Paul Denton, MarsQuake project leader, for further information.