Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Sound From Mars Heard For First Time On Earth

Sound From Mars Heard For First Time On Earth

The newest resident of the Red Planet, NASA's InSight, sent back audio of the vibrations caused by the wind on Mars.

The audio was picked up by both an air pressure sensor and the seismometer aboard InSight.

Both recorded the Martian wind in different ways. This sensor recorded the vibrations directly while the seismometer recorded the vibrations of the movement the wind caused in the solar panels. The air pressure sensor recorded the vibrations directly from changes in the air. Through the Government's Industrial Strategy, we are driving the biggest increase in public investment in research and development in United Kingdom history.

InSight is created 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.

To get high-quality data from the incredibly sensitive seismometer onboard the lander, the team needs to be able to cancel out all the commotion coming from the Martian surface, looking only at signals coming from inside the planet. Scientists estimate the wind was blowing between 10 and 15MPH.


"Hearing the first sounds ever recorded on the surface of another planet is a privilege".

SEIS includes three Short Period sensors (SEIS SP) developed in partnership by Imperial College London, Oxford University and STFC RAL Space, with £4 million in funding from the UK Space Agency. That means they are well-placed to capture noises around and onboard the lander, including the sound of the wind blowing across InSight's solar arrays.

'The solar panels on the lander's sides are ideal acoustic receivers, ' Prof Pike said. It's like InSight is cupping its ears.

NASA's new tool - the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport - aka "InSight" touched down on Mars on November 26. You may need to put on earphones or crank up your subwoofer to hear what's going on in the first video, which is made up of raw data from the seismometer.

NASA describes the sounds as a "haunting low rumble".

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