NASA's InSight Mars Lander 'Hears' Martian Wind, a Cosmic First

NASA's InSight Mars Lander 'Hears' Martian Wind, a Cosmic First

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).

The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on the robotic arm of NASA's InSight lander, took this image of the Martian surface the day the spacecraft touched down on the Red Planet, and was relayed from InSight to Earth via NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, now orbiting Mars, on November 26, 2018.

The solar panels on the lander's sides are flawless acoustic receivers. The low-frequency rumblings were collected by the InSight lander during its first week of operations at Mars.

Two very sensitive sensors on the spacecraft detected these wind vibrations: an air pressure sensor inside the lander and a seismometer sitting on the lander's deck, awaiting deployment by InSight's robotic arm.

Cardinals Trade For Paul Goldschmidt
Arizona went 82-80 in the NL West and finished behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado, which both made the playoffs. Officials with Arizona Cardinals announced Wednesday that 1st Baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been traded to the St.

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. Scientists estimate the wind was blowing between 10 and 15MPH.

That's great news for engineers, and NASA says it's continuing to maneuver InSight's arm in order to paint a more complete picture of the bot's environment. The air pressure sensor recorded the vibrations directly from changes in the air. "A haunting low rumble" was recorded by the rover, which detected the vibrations from wind blowing across its large solar panels.

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".

The sound of the wind is similar to what wind, or maybe crashing waves, would sound like on Earth. For now, it is recording wind data that scientists will later be able to cancel out of data from the surface, allowing them to separate "noise" from actual Marsquakes. 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. The robot has a lot of work ahead of it, but things always start slowly when you're handling a machine remotely from another planet.

Related Articles