First sounds recorded on surface of Mars by Nasa Insight probe

Jan Cross
December 8, 2018

Now the Lander has captured the first ever "sounds" of Martian winds on the Red Planet.

The spacecraft's sensors captured a "haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind", a NASA spokesperson wrote in a press release. The new recording uses data from two sources, the air pressure sensor and the seismometer, which are both still on the instrument deck.

The noise is of the wind blowing against InSight's solar panels and the resulting vibration of the entire spacecraft. An internal air pressure sensor whose job it is to collect meteorological data, recorded the air vibrations directly.

InSight science team member Tom Pike says the lander acts like a giant ear as the solar panels respond to the wind. Scientists noted that the first sounds from Mars that are detectable by human ears.

You can hear the audio in the video above.

Nasa is also planning to launch the Mars 2020 rover which will feature actual high-quality microphones on board and will record the sounds of its landing as well as the Martian ambiance. In the near future, InSight will place the seismometer tool used to detect the vibrations on the planet's surface.

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7, 2018 photo made available by NASA shows a view from the arm-mounted camera on the InSight Mars lander.

"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat", said Bruce Banerdt, the InSight principal investigator at Nasa's lab in Pasadena, California. The raw images the craft sends back to NASA are hosted on the InSight mission site where anyone can take a look at them all and see what the craft's instruments see while on Mars.

The wind was detected by two sensitive sensors on InSight.

The "really unworldly" sounds from InSight, meanwhile, have Banerdt imaging he's "on a planet that's in some ways like the Earth, but in some ways really alien". It's like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it. The robot has a lot of work ahead of it, but things always start slowly when you're handling a machine remotely from another planet.

This is the only phase of the mission during which the seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), will be capable of detecting vibrations generated directly by the lander, said NASA.

What did we just hear?

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