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.
InSight landed on the plains of Elysium Planitia on November 26, nearly seven months after leaving Earth. Those listening on a laptop or their phone might not be able to hear the original sound of the wind blowing across the lander's solar panels because the pitch is so low.
"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat". A subwoofer or earphones are needed to hear this clip.
We've never before been able to HEAR the sounds of the wind on Mars, though. Wow!
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The recorded sounds were "consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, which were observed from orbit", NASA said.
InSight's solar panels appear in this image from Mars on December 7. The equipment will gather vibrations from deep within the Red Planet.
"We're trying to design a noise-cancellation headphone system for our seismometer", InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt said. The air sensor recorded air vibrations, while the seismometer recorded the lander's vibrations from the wind blowing across its large solar panels. NASA's Mars Polar Lander was carrying a microphone when it crashed into Mars in 1999. "But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves".
NASA has tried unsuccessfully to listen to Mars in the past, Space.com notes. The air pressure sensor, part of the Auxiliary Payload Sensor Subsystem (APSS), which will collect meteorological data, recorded these air vibrations directly. The scheduled Mars 2020 Rover will have on board microphones for the goal of recording the sound of the landing.
"It really sounds otherworldly, and that is exactly what it is". "These images will help mission team members determine where to set InSight's seismometer and heat flow probe - the only instruments ever to be robotically placed on the surface of another planet".