It has been only a few days since NASA’s InSight lander touched down on Mars and has already started doing amazing work as for the first time ever, the lander has recorded the the sound of winds at Mars.
NASA launched its InSight lander on November 26 to Mars, aimed at observing the Marsquakes. However, additionally the lander did one thing that no Mars mission has ever done – picking up the audio of Mar’s winds. Everyone can now ‘hear’ the sound of the wind at Mars, thanks to the lander.
#Mars, I hear you and I’m feeling the good vibrations left in the wake of your Martian winds. Take a listen to the #SoundsOfMars I’ve picked up. 🔊
More on https://t.co/auhFdfiUMg pic.twitter.com/shVmYbfHRs
— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) December 7, 2018
InSight’s principal investigator Bruce Banerdt expressed, “Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat. But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves.”
As explained by Engadget, the audio was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer aboard the lander. The air pressure sensor detected the air vibrations directly while the seismometer recorded vibrations caused by the winds blowing across InSight’s solar panels. It has been estimated that the winds were blowing between 10 and 15mph.
“The InSight lander acts like a giant ear. The solar panels on the lander’s sides respond to pressure fluctuations of the wind. It’s like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it. 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,” explained Tom Pike, a part of the InSight science team.