Sounds of Mars: NASA's InSight Senses Martian Wind

Eloise Marshall
December 8, 2018

"In some sense, this is what it would sound like if you were sitting on the InSight lander on Mars", Cornell University's Don Banfield told reporters.

Scientists estimated the northwest wind to be 10-15 miles per hour.

InSight landed on Mars on November 26. This robotic arm will soon come in handy when it's finally time for the spacecraft to deploy its SEIS seismometer and HP3 heat flow probe - "the only instruments ever to be robotically placed on the surface of another planet", notes NASA. These are the first sounds from Mars that are detectible by human ears, according to the researchers.

What's even more exciting about InSight's fascinating discovery is that the NASA team were not even planning on capturing the previously unheard wind. The first audio clip requires headphones or, ideally, a subwoofer to hear, NASA warns.

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.

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Humans can now hear the haunting, low rumble of wind on Mars for the first time, after NASA's InSight lander captured vibrations from the breeze on the Red Planet, the United States space agency said Friday. "A haunting low rumble" was recorded by the rover, which detected the vibrations from wind blowing across its large solar panels.

Less than two weeks into the InSight Mission, UK science is already uncovering incredible things about Mars.

The audio was picked up by both an air pressure sensor and the seismometer aboard InSight.

"Today we can see the first glimpses of our workspace", says Bruce Banerdt, the mission's principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, speaking in a press statement. When InSight is conducting its science mission, the seismometer won't be able to hear the wind, attuned only to the grumblings of the planet's interior.

Nasa presented the sounds at a news conference on Friday. The seismometer recorded lander vibrations caused by the wind moving over the spacecraft's solar panels, which are each 7 feet (2.2 meters) in diameter and stick out from the sides of the lander like a giant pair of ears. One is set to record the sound of landing on the Red Planet and the other will listen for the sounds made by a laser used to investigate materials on the surface.

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