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Marsquake! Storm Team meteorologist has special connection to Red Planet project

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – As a meteorologist, each member of the ABC21 Storm Team spends a good amount of time looking up toward the skies. One, however, has added interest in what lies beyond, since someone very close to him is part of a project that is literally out of this world.

Nick Marusiak’s sister, Angela, is part of the team breaking new ground in the study of Mars. Angela Marusiak is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, where she is part of the “InSight” team of scientists who are working with NASA to gather new data from Earth’s closest neighbor.

That team has been studying some of the first signals sent back by instruments that landed on the Martian surface. One of those signals is the registration of a “Marsquake.”

“Since it’s on mars we call it a mars quake,” she explained. “If it happens on the moon, it’s a moonquake. People tend to laugh when I say that they think I’m kidding… but that is actually the scientific term for what happens when the ground shakes on Mars.”

It’s the first such recording of its kind, and the InSight team hopes information that follows will provide a greater understanding of the planet.

“So we’re looking to see if mars is more moon like in that sense or more earth like,” Angela Marusiak said. “As we get more data, we can kind of see where mars falls on that spectrum between moon and the earth.

“We can figure out how big is the crust… how large is the mantle… what’s inside the mantle… what’s it made of..  what’s it’s composition.”

The InSight mission will continue through at least November 2020. NASA plans to send a rover to explore the surface of Mars that same year.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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