Sci-tech

Sounds of Mars wind captured by Nasa's InSight lander

Sounds of Mars wind captured by Nasa's InSight lander

The 1976 Viking landers on Mars picked up spacecraft shaking caused by wind, but it would be a stretch to consider it sound, said InSight's lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt, of JPL. The equipment will gather vibrations from deep within the Red Planet.

The audio is best listened to with headphones on and sub woofer speakers.

For the first time in history, we can hear the wind on Mars. So, NASA also provided a version of the recording shifted up in pitch, which pulls some of the otherwise-inaudible infrasound into hearing range.

InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 15 miles per hour (5 to 7 meters a second) from northwest to southeast. That wind pattern is consistent with the direction of dust devil tracks that were observed in the landing area from orbit, NASA said.

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"In some sense, this is what it would sound like if you were sitting on the Insight lander on Mars".

A media teleconference was held yesterday to discuss the recorded sounds at 12:30pm. "But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves".

"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat".

Nasa said that the air pressure sensor used to collect meteorological data recorded these air vibrations directly. According to the Tweet, sensors in InSight's seismometer and weather instrument captured vibrations from martian wind hitting the lander on December 1. They stick out from the lander and are referred to by NASA as looking like "a pair of ears".

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'The solar panels on the lander's sides are ideal acoustic receivers, ' Prof Pike said.

The noise was produced due to the air blowing over the solar panels of the InSight lander as well as the motion of the spacecraft.

Although the rumble that InSight detected serves as the first sampling of Martian sounds, there's lots more to come.

We've seen the surface of Mars, through pictures. Until then, the team plans to record more wind noise.

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The rover will, for the first time, record the sound of its own landing. A second will be able to detect the sound of the instrument's laser as it zaps different materials. It will detect the lander's movement through the Mars surface, said NASA. "The success of these two unique missions is a tribute to the hundreds of talented engineers and scientists who put their genius and labour into making this a great day".


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