InSight lander captures 1st sounds of Martian wind

The wind is estimated to be blowing 10 mph to 15 mph.

This image from InSight's robotic-arm mounted Instrument Deployment Camera shows the instruments on the spacecraft's deck, with the Martian surface of Elysium Planitia in the background.
This image from InSight's robotic-arm mounted Instrument Deployment Camera shows the instruments on the spacecraft's deck, with the Martian surface of Elysium Planitia in the background.

Almost 10 days ago, NASA’s new Mars lander had touched down the Mars’ surface. Now the Lander has captured the first ever “sounds” of Martian winds on the Red Planet.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory released audio clips of the alien wind Friday. The low-frequency rumblings were collected by Insight lander during its first week of operations on Mars.

The wind is estimated to be blowing 10 mph to 15 mph (16 kph to 24 kph). Scientists noted that the first sounds from Mars that are detectable by human ears.

Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator at NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California said, “Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat. But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally, that includes motion caused by sound waves.”

Cornell University’s Don Banfield told reporters said, “Reminds me of sitting outside on a windy summer afternoon. In some sense, this is what it would sound like if you were sitting on the InSight lander on Mars.”

The noise is of the wind blowing against InSight’s solar panels and the resulting vibration of the entire spacecraft. The sounds were recorded by an air pressure sensor inside the lander that part of a weather station, as well as the seismometer on the deck of the spacecraft.

The low frequencies are a result of Mars’ thin air density and even more so the seismometer itself — it’s meant to detect underground seismic waves, well below the threshold of human hearing.

InSight’s lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt 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.”

NASA’s Lori Glaze, acting director of planetary science said, “We’re all still on a high from the landing last week. and here we are less than two weeks after landing, and we’ve already got some amazing new science.”

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