InSight Lander Sends the Sound of Wind on Mars

InSight Lander Sends the Sound of Wind on Mars

InSight Lander Sends the Sound of Wind on Mars

InSight landed on Mars on November 26.

But while the instruments on InSight can capture data in human-friendly frequencies, higher-pitched sounds don't travel well on Mars.

The NASA InSight lander, which is supported by the UK Space Agency, has recorded a haunting, low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind.

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The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on the robotic arm of NASA's InSight lander, took this image of the Martian surface the day the spacecraft touched down on the Red Planet, and was relayed from InSight to Earth via NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, now orbiting Mars, on November 26, 2018. This sensor recorded the vibrations directly while the seismometer recorded the vibrations of the movement the wind caused in the solar panels. "While this is unfortunate, it will not affect the role of the camera, which is to take images of the area in front of the lander where our instruments will eventually be placed".

NASA increased the pitch of the audio by two octaves for those who couldn't hear the original, and for those listening on a laptop or a phone.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory released audio clips of the alien wind on Friday. The wind was estimated to be blowing 10 to 15 miles per hour from northwest to southeast, which matched the direction of dust devil streaks observed from another NASA spacecraft in orbit. "The solar panels on the lander's sides respond to pressure fluctuations of the wind".

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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 sounds were recorded by an air pressure sensor inside the lander that is part of a weather station, as well as the seismometer on the deck of the spacecraft.

We've never before been able to HEAR the sounds of the wind on Mars, though. Wow! That lander is scheduled to arrive on Mars in two years and will have microphones on board to record direct sounds, including the sound of the landing. A second will be able to detect the sound of the instrument's laser as it zaps different materials.

Scientists agree the sound has an otherworldly quality to it, and they feel as though they're sitting on the spacecraft, enjoying the Martian breeze.

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