Sounds of Mars wind captured by Nasa's InSight lander
Sounds of Mars wind captured by Nasa's InSight lander
NASA Recorded the Sounds of Mars (And It's Almost All Creepy Bass)
08 December, 2018, 01:56
The seismometer recording is only possible during these early stages of InSight's mission because once it's placed onto the Martian surface, a dome will protect it from wind and scientists will actively filter out vibrational noise originating from the lander. Shown are the lander's arm (top), its 2.2 metre wide solar panel, one of its two TWINS temperature and wind sensors (left of centre), its UHF antenna (bottom centre), its SEIS seimometer (bottom left), and the white dome (centre left) now covers its pressure sensor.
We know what Mars looks like, but there's a lot of mystery around what Mars sounds like.
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. "But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves".
The sounds were recorded by an air pressure sensor inside the lander that's part of a weather station, as well as the seismometer on the deck of the spacecraft.
Both recorded the Martian wind in different ways. Readings from the air pressure sensor have been sped up by a factor of 100 times to make them audible.
InSight science team member Tom Pike says the lander acts like a giant ear as the solar panels respond to the wind.
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. The lander has lifted its arm and taken the first pictures of its Martian landing site. "It's going to become very hard to hear the sounds from the outside of Mars later on".
InSight is created 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.
InSight, which landed on 26 November 2018, will study the inside of Mars to learn how planets, moons and meteorites with rocky surfaces, including the Earth and its Moon, formed.
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