InSight lander captures 1st sounds of Martian wind

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

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

The wind you hear in this recording is blowing at between 10 and 15 mph (5 to 7 meters per second) and originates from northwest of the lander, the scientists reported.

Two sensitive sensors, air pressure sensor inside the spacecraft and a seismometer, recorded the vibrations in different ways.

InSight science team member Tom Pike says the lander acts like a giant ear as the solar panels respond to the wind. The first is an air pressure sensor inside the lander, which collects "meteorological data".

Less than two weeks into the InSight Mission, UK science is already uncovering incredible things about Mars.

We've seen the surface of Mars, through pictures.

The mission is an example of our successful space sector making a difference to global science.

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.

The wind sound can be heard on the video above.

The seismometers are French, and provided by the French Space Agency CNES, and include components developed at Britain's Imperial College London and Oxford University.

InSight's solar panels appear in this image from Mars on December 7. Shown are the lander's arm (top), its 2.2 metre wide solar panel, one of its two TWINS temperature and wind sensors (left of centre), its UHF antenna (bottom centre), its SEIS seimometer (bottom left), and the white dome (centre left) now covers its pressure sensor. It's like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it.

"The winds were consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, which were observed from orbit", the NASA statement added. As a flag breaks up the wind, it creates oscillations in frequency that the human ear perceives as flapping.

It's been almost two weeks since NASA successfully landed its InSIght lander on Mars and the craft is getting ready to start its important work on the planet.

NASA's Viking 1 and 2 landers also picked up signals of the Martian wind when they landed in 1976.

Both audio samples have been released to the public nearly completely unaltered. "It's going to become very hard to hear the sounds from the outside of Mars later on".

The rover will, for the first time, record the sound of its own landing. Changes in air pressure is what causes sound in the first place.

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

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