NASA InSight hears 'haunting low rumble' on Mars

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

NASA InSight hears 'haunting low rumble' on Mars

What's even more exciting about InSight's fascinating discovery is that the NASA team were not even planning on capturing the previously unheard wind.

The vibrations caused by the winds were recorded by a seismometer, installed on the InSight lander, on December 1 as the winds were blowing across its solar panels from northwest to southeast, according to NASA. In the near future, InSight will place the seismometer tool used to detect the vibrations on the planet's surface.

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

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 equipment will gather vibrations from deep within the Red Planet.

The audio was captured by two different pieces of state of the art, hyper sensitive recording equipment aboard the lander.

This image from InSight's robotic-arm mounted Instrument Deployment Camera shows the instruments on the spacecraft's deck, with the Martian surface of Elysium Planitia in the background.

InSight's seismometer and another sensor picked up the noise, and it was not planned. Below is what InSight's weather station recorded - specifically the low-frequency infrasound detected by its atmospheric pressure sensor.

'The solar panels on the lander's sides are ideal acoustic receivers, ' Prof Pike said.

You can hear the audio in the video above. The lander will measure whether tremors have the same effect as earthquakes. The scheduled Mars 2020 Rover will have on board microphones for the objective of recording the sound of the landing. The seismometer recorded lander vibrations caused by the wind moving over the spacecraft's solar panels, which are each 7 feet (2.2 meters) in diameter and stick out from the sides of the lander like a giant pair of ears. Scientists noted that the first sounds from Mars that are detectable by human ears.

The craft will also have an on board camera that will serve the extremely sci-fi goal of "detect the sound of the instrument's laser as it zaps different materials".

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