NASA Captures Audio of the Surface of Mars for the First Time

When the wind blows on Earth it makes a certain sound. Based on what the wind is whistling through, the wind can sound like nothing, or like some kind of howl or whistle, if you think about it, it’s really just about what the wind is hitting.

Finally, for the first time in history, the sound of wind has been actually captured on another planet. If anybody is curious to know what Martian wind might sound like, now we get to know, provided that what NASA has presented to us is real.

A couple days ago, NASA released audio from its InSight Mars lander. The probe made a successful touch-down on the planet Mars last week, and managed to transmit audio of wind, the vibration sounds deflecting off from the lander’s 7-foot solar panels. At the :35 mark of this video, you can listen to the audio.

At first, scientists say they didn’t initially expect to capture such clear sound, and it was a surprise to them when they heard the clearness of the transmission. In a press release, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California stated:

“Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat”… “But one of the things [the InSight mission] is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves.”

(Image credit: extremetech)

The sound captured by NASA’s Mars probe was distinctly described as being from a northwest wind, blowing 10-15 miles per hour, and they described atmospheric vibrations captured by the sensors on December 1.

Vivid detail was found in the report: “InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 15 mph (5 to 7 meters a second) on Dec. 1, from northwest to southeast. The winds were consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, which were observed from orbit.”

The sensors were described by scientists as being a couple extremely sensitive sensors, detecting those vibrations of wind: an air pressure sensor, located inside the land, as well as a seismometer perched on the lander’s deck, which awaited deployment by the robotic arm located on InSight.

(Image credit: phys)

In addition, those sensors act as the “ears” of the rover, as NASA described. The two instruments recorded wind in different ways. The Auxiliary Payload Sensor Subsystem (APSS) had the air pressure sensor as a component of it, and the purpose is to collect meteorological data. They collected these vibrations we’re listening to directly.

Then, the seismometer recorded vibrations caused by wind brushing over the solar panels on the spacecraft, and they protrude from the sides of the lander similar to a huge pair of ears, being 7 feet (2.2 meters) in diameter.

Yet another Mars Rover, the Mars 2020 rover is set to be launched in a couple years, and it will be equipped with two microphones on board.

(Image credit: theverge)

One can only imagine the scope of sounds an actual person on Mars would hear. In fact, all the different details of the atmosphere make picturing this so complicated. What if people heard this constant hum or buzzing on Mars that wouldn’t stop the entire time?

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