Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Sounds of Mars wind captured by Nasa's InSight lander

Sounds of Mars wind captured by Nasa's InSight lander

New image from Mars taken by the InSight lander. Shown are the lander's arm (top), its 2.2 metre wide solar panel, one of its two TWINS temperature and wind sensors (left of centre), its UHF antenna (bottom centre), its SEIS seimometer (bottom left), and the white dome (centre left) now covers its pressure sensor.

But while the instruments on InSight can capture data in human-friendly frequencies, higher-pitched sounds don't travel well on Mars.

The latest release from the InSight team is truly a first, though!

An air pressure sensor and a seismometer recorded the noise through the vibrations in the air and vibrations around the aircraft "caused by the wind moving over the spacecraft's solar panels". 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. Determining the heat flow beneath the surface will give scientists a better understanding of the planet's origins, and whether they're similar to how the Earth and its moon formed. NASA shared two copies of the wind recording, one as it was captured and another adjusted for playback on phones and laptops.

"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. The air pressure sensor, part of the Auxiliary Payload Sensor Subsystem (APSS), which will collect meteorological data, recorded these air vibrations directly.

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After recently beaming back a selfie of its robotic arm raised in triumph, as the Inquisitr reported on Wednesday, the InSight Mars lander has snapped another photo of its 6-feet-long appendage. The seismometer is waiting to be deployed to the lander's robotic arm, and once that happens it will be covered with a domed shield to protect it from wind and temperature changes, so it won't be able to pick up this sound.

'The solar panels on the lander's sides are ideal acoustic receivers, ' Prof Pike said. It still will detect the lander's movement, though channeled through the Martian surface.

The seismometer, known as SEIS, will be examining the planet's internal activity, trying to detect pulses from seismic waves, meteor impacts, and even marsquakes.

Keep watching for more to come from InSight!

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