We just found out that Uranus isn’t the only place that has wind as NASA just recorded the sounds of the wind on Mars.
Last week the space agency’s InSight rover landed on the surface of the Red Planet after travelling a distance of more than 300 million miles over the past seven months.
The spacecraft will stay on the planet until November 24, 2020 conducting research into what lies beneath the surface of Mars, listening out for what NASA has dubbed ‘Marsquakes’.
During its research the rover discovered something unexpected this week as it recorded the sounds of the wind on the Red Planet which is soothing rather than howling.
The first ever sounds recorded on the planet, you can listen to the winds blowing across the rover and moving over the craft’s solar panels.
Plug in your headphones, sit back and relax as you listen to the sounds below:
Remarkably the rover does not have a microphone meaning the sounds were recorded by an air pressure sensor and a seismometer which are designed to measure the Marsquakes.
Picking up vibrations in the air from the winds which were blowing between 10 and 15 miles per hour from northwest to southeast, the equipment recorded the sound waves giving us the result above.
In a press release NASA explained how it all works writing:
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.
The two instruments recorded the wind noise in different ways. The air pressure sensor, part of the Auxiliary Payload Sensor Subsystem (APSS), which will collect meteorological data, recorded these air vibrations directly.
The seismometer recorded lander vibrations caused by the wind moving over the spacecraft’s solar panels, which are each seven feet (2.2 meters) in diameter and stick out from the sides of the lander like a giant pair of ears.
For NASA the recording was an unexpected but pleasant surprise.
Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, praised the discovery saying:
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.
An even clearer recording of sound from Mars will arrive in the future as in 2020 NASA’s Mars rover is scheduled to land and that craft has two microphones on board.
When NASA’s InSight rover landed on the planet it began to take images of Mars.
One of the first photos it sent back to Earth showed a region of the planet known as Elysium Planitia.
Sharing the snap on Twitter, NASA wrote:
Wish you were here! NASA InSight sent home its first photo after Mars Landing.
InSight’s view is a flat, smooth expanse called Elysium Planitia, but its workspace is below the surface, where it will study Mars’ deep interior.
InSight’s view is a flat, smooth expanse called Elysium Planitia, but its workspace is below the surface, where it will study Mars’ deep interior. pic.twitter.com/3EU70jXQJw
— NASA (@NASA) November 26, 2018
The image sent back to Earth via two mini satellites known as Marco-A and B does not really show much, as it’s partially obscured by a dust cover thanks to debris kicked up during the landing.
Soon this dust cover will disappear though, allowing the rover to send back much clearer images but for now we can see the horizon of Mars in the distance.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.