Listen to the first sounds from Mars

08 Décembre, 2018, 13:23 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • InSight is designed to study the interior of Mars like never before using seismology instruments to detect quakes and a self-hammering mole to measure heat escape from the planet's crust

Cornell University's Don Banfield told reporters said, "Reminds me of sitting outside on a windy summer afternoon".

The Dec. 1 detection took advantage of several components of the car-sized lander, including its solar panels. These vibrations were created by wind passing over the spacecraft's large solar arrays, NASA officials said. Those vibrations are passed along by structures on the lander that would be analogous to the bones of the inner ear. 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. Readings from the seismometer are sent along as data to the lander's electronics and transmitted back to Earth.

These vibrations were detected by an ultra-sensitive seismometer developed in the United Kingdom and an air pressure sensor sitting on the lander's deck.

InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 15 miles per hour (5 to 7 meters a second) from northwest to southeast.

The recorded sounds were "consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, which were observed from orbit", NASA said.

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory released audio clips of the alien wind Friday. It's like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it. In the near future, InSight will place the seismometer tool used to detect the vibrations on the planet's surface. Such frequencies would be heard more easily by elephants or whales.

We've never before been able to HEAR the sounds of the wind on Mars, though. Wow!

Upon the landing of Insight, JPL director Michael Watkins said, "Every Mars landing is daunting, but now with InSight safely on the surface we get to do a unique kind of science on Mars". Scientists estimate the wind was blowing between 10 and 15MPH. In a few weeks, it will be placed on the Martian surface by InSight's robotic arm, then covered by a domed shield to protect it from wind and temperature changes. Now the Lander has captured the first ever "sounds" of Martian winds on the Red Planet.

NASA describes the sounds as a "haunting low rumble". The scheduled Mars 2020 Rover will have on board microphones for the objective of recording the sound of the landing.

When the sensors pick up vibrations from InSight's solar panels, the whole spacecraft acts like a giant microphone. "That's why we do this".


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