Sunday, 20 January, 2019


Sounds of Mars wind captured by Nasa's InSight lander

InSight is designed to study the interior of Mars like never before using seismology instruments to detect quakes and a self-hammering mole to measure heat escape from the planet's crust Sounds of Mars wind captured by Nasa's InSight lander
Kristine Garrett | 08 December, 2018, 07:23

"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat", said Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The newest resident of the Red Planet, NASA's InSight, sent back audio of the vibrations caused by the wind on Mars.

InSight landed on Mars November 26 after seven months and 300 million miles en route. Those listening on a laptop or their phone might not be able to hear the original sound of the wind blowing across the lander's solar panels because the pitch is so low.

A second version of the audio was also released with the audio pitched slightly higher, where the sound is more perceivable to the human ear. A subwoofer or earphones are needed to hear this clip.

The recorded sounds were "consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, which were observed from orbit", NASA said. This sensor recorded the vibrations directly while the seismometer recorded the vibrations of the movement the wind caused in the solar panels.

In the video posted on Twitter, NASA said mission engineers will eventually move the seismometer off the lander and onto the ground.

'It is just unbelievable to hear the first ever sounds from Mars'.

The vibrations have been shifted up into the human audible range, and sped up so that we can make sense of them, but it really sounds like if you were sitting on the lander's deck, hearing the winds whistle by your ears! The sounds were recorded by two of the three short-period sensors on the seismometer (SEIS).

The NASA InSight rover features sensors that enable it to capture vibrations, which it did on December 1. "But we know that everything is a little different for the lander on Mars, so faults are not unusual", Hoffman said. Banerdt says the sounds still have an otherworldly quality to them, which is fitting considering they come from so far away.

The air pressure sensor inside the shield will be relocated as well, and the team will gather data at night, when it expects the wind will have died down and the lander itself will be making less noise. In a few weeks, it is due to be placed on the Martian surface by InSight's robotic arm.

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