Marsquakes and carbon removal: News from the College

NASA Mars Insight

NASA Mars Insight

From the first tremors sensed on Mars, to a new study recognising the value of large central power stations, here is some quick-read news from across

From the first tremors sensed on Mars, to a new study recognising the value of large central power stations, here is some quick-read news from across the College.

Martian tremors

NASA’s Mars InSight lander has measured and recorded for the first time ever a likely “marsquake”.

The faint seismic signal was detected on April 6 by the lander’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, led by an international team of scientists including Imperial’s Professor Tom Pike. This is the first recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind. Listen to the tremor on the video above.

Professor Pike, who is leading the UK contribution, said:

"This is what we what we were all waiting for, the first quivering of the planet picked up by our sensors. We worked hard to develop the most sensitive silicon sensors on Earth to send to Mars as part of SEIS. Up to now we didn’t know if even that was going to be good enough. But it looks like Mars, although very much quieter than Earth, is giving us seismic signals we are able to clearly detect. Our first investigation of the interior of another planet is now underway."

Read the full UK Space Agency announcement.

Recognition for top biosciences training

Imperial has received Doctoral Training Accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology for its biosciences postgraduate degrees.

The scheme recognises that graduates from accredited degree programmes are equipped with well-rounded knowledge and skill sets, making them highly employable both within and beyond their chosen field.

According to the Society, the accreditation “highlights the institution’s commitment to delivering a robust education that equips their students with knowledge and skillsets valued by employers”.

A reception in Parliament celebrating the latest Accreditation cohort took place on 24th April, with academics, industry representatives and bioscience graduates in attendance.

Crucial carbon removal

Using more renewable energy is seen as a primary way for countries to reach their climate goals by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In the UK, favourable government policies have made renewable energy cheaper and small or isolated systems are increasingly commercially viable.

However, a new study by Habiba Daggash and Dr Niall Mac Dowell from the Centre for Environmental Policy suggests this will not be enough in the UK, and large central power stations will still be needed. However, these stations will not burn fossil fuels, but bioenergy coupled with carbon capture - the practice of trapping CO2 emissions and burying them underground, removing CO2 from the air.

The authors say the government needs to recognise the value of these stations to meet emissions targets. Read the full paper in the journal Joule.

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Andrew Youngson
Communications and Public Affairs

Hayley Dunning
Communications and Public Affairs

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