First sounds recorded on surface of Mars by Nasa Insight probe

08 December, 2018, 01:51 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • InSight is designed 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

Was there ever life on Mars? 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. These are the first sounds from Mars that are detectable by human ears, according to the researchers. This sensor recorded the vibrations directly while the seismometer recorded the vibrations of the movement the wind caused in the solar panels.

"InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 25 miles per hour (5 to 7 meters a second) on December 1, from northwest to southeast", the agency said.

When the sensors pick up vibrations from InSight's solar panels, the whole spacecraft acts like a giant microphone. In the near future, InSight will place the seismometer tool used to detect the vibrations on the planet's surface. And now, the team behind the mission has turned the first bits of that data into an incredible new soundtrack, which you can hear in a new video, released today (Dec. 7).

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.

InSight landed on Mars on November 26.

Image from NASA's InSight showing the surface of Mars.

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"But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves", Bruce Banerdt, the InSight principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement.

These vibrations were detected by an ultra-sensitive seismometer developed in the United Kingdom and an air pressure sensor sitting on the lander's deck. As new Science Minister I am excited to see what more we can achieve on land and in outer space.

'It's like InSight is cupping its ears'. "What you're hearing now should get a lot quieter", Pike said.

The "really unworldly" sounds from InSight, meanwhile, have Banerdt imaging he's "on a planet that's in some ways like the Earth, but in some ways really alien".

Keep watching for more to come from InSight!

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