NASA's InSight Senses Martian Wind — Sounds of Mars

Hear the wind on Mars for the first time, thanks to the InSight lander

Hear the wind on Mars for the first time, thanks to the InSight lander

For the first time, humans can hear the sound of wind on Mars thanks to a new NASA spacecraft that touched down on the Red Planet ten days ago. On Friday, NASA released audio of the Martian wind, the first time sound has been recorded on another planet's surface.

A brand-new batch of Mars photos has just come through from the InSight lander, NASA announced yesterday.

But while the instruments on InSight can capture data in human-friendly frequencies, higher-pitched sounds don't travel well on Mars. Instead, they're specially created to tackle an important scientific challenge: solving mysteries about the interior of Mars. In a few weeks, it is due to be placed on the Martian surface by InSight's robotic arm.

The craft's air pressure sensor recorded the winds as well, according to NASA, and that audio is increased by a factor of 100 so that it's audible. "But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally, that includes motion caused by sound waves", said Bruce Banerdt, the principal investigator.

The audio was picked up by both an air pressure sensor and the seismometer aboard InSight. The air sensor recorded air vibrations, while the seismometer recorded the lander's vibrations from the wind blowing across its large solar panels. Additionally, NASA reported that the winds were likely blowing from the northwest in the direction of the southeast, the way the streaks in the landing area seem to move as well. Maybe. Is there sound?

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But the scientists warned not to get too attached to these recordings, because they won't last long.

InSight will act as a giant ear on Mars that will measure any sound or pressure fluctuations of the wind, earthquakes, tectonic movement or volcanism.

We know what Mars looks like, but there's a lot of mystery around what Mars sounds like.

Both recorded the Martian wind in different ways. "It just gives another way of thinking about how far away [we are when] we're getting these signals".

"It's a really distant rumble that we're hearing", Pike said.

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