NASA's InSight Senses Martian Wind — Sounds of Mars

An illustration of the In Sight lander its sensors cameras and instruments

To better hear this bass sound, it's better you bring out your headphones, or your subwoofer, as NASA suggested. 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.

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".

On December 1, InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 15 miles per hour (16 to 24 kph).

InSight's seismometer captured the vibrations. The new recording uses data from two sources, the air pressure sensor and the seismometer, which are both still on the instrument deck. 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).

A second track is a little easier to hear since NASA processed it to make more audible. The craft will stay put until November 24, 2020, measuring quakes that happen anywhere on Mars.

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Sensing the wind, which moved from northwest to southeast at around 5 pm local time, was "an unplanned treat", said Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

It's been less than two weeks since InSight touched down on the surface of the Red Planet, but it is already sending back awesome things for us to marvel at.

"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 awesome new science", said NASA's Lori Glaze, acting director of planetary science. One has been included specifically to record the sound of a Martian landing for the first time. "It's like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it", he said. "They do sound like the wind or maybe the ocean roaring in the background, but it also has kind of an unworldly feel to it".

Keep watching for more to come from InSight!

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