Published: Mon, December 10, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

NASA's InSight lander 'hears' wind on Mars

NASA's InSight lander 'hears' wind on Mars

Ever wondered what it sounds like to be on the surface of 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".

NASA said that the mission engineers planned to move the seismometer from the lander on to the ground next to it.

Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said that capturing the sound waves on the red planet was unexpected and that its mission was dedicated to detecting the motion on Mars which also includes the motion caused by the sound waves. The Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), the seismometer, will use the vibrations to help scientists configure more about the planet's interior.

Nasa is also planning to launch the Mars 2020 rover which will feature actual high-quality microphones on board and will record the sounds of its landing as well as the Martian ambiance.

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A version of the sounds was altered to be more perceptible to the human ears, according to Nasa. The dome-shaped object behind it is a wind and thermal shield for the instrument. The first is an air pressure sensor inside the lander, which collects "meteorological data".

It's been almost two weeks since NASA successfully landed its InSIght lander on Mars and the craft is getting ready to start its important work on the planet. "When we looked at the direction of the lander vibrations coming from the solar panels, it matches the expected wind direction at our landing site".

With the lander, NASA hopes to study the "vital signs" of Earth's neighboring planet, including its "pulse" (seismology), "temperature" (heat flow), and "reflexes" (precision tracking).

BREAKING: Humans have never before heard the sound of wind on Mars until now! "We have a great team, and we're doing incredible things every day at NASA", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said.

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