NASA InSight hears 'haunting low rumble' on Mars


InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind on Mars, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 15 miles per hour (5 to 7 meters a second) on December 1, from northwest to southeast, NASA said on Friday. The sounds were recorded by an air pressure sensor inside the lander that is part of a weather station, as well as the seismometer on the deck of the spacecraft. In the near future, InSight will place the seismometer tool used to detect the vibrations on the planet's surface.

The space agency released a raw audio sample of the sound on Friday, which could be heard through mobile and laptop speakers. The low-frequency rumblings were collected by Insight lander during its first week of operations on Mars. 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.

The Instrument Deployment Camera aboard NASA's InSight lander took this photo of one of the lander's 7-foot (2.2 meters) wide solar panels.

"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat", Bruce Banerdt, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a press release.

You can download NASA's Sounds of Mars recording here.

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

Because InSight's seismometer is created to measure seismic activity, the recorded sounds are near the lower edge of the human ear's sensitivity, around 50 Hz. That's because the seismometer's main goal is to detect marsquakes, or earthquakes on Mars.

Although the rumble that InSight detected serves as the first sampling of Martian sounds, there's lots more to come. As new Science Minister I am excited to see what more we can achieve on land and in outer space.

InSight, which landed on 26 November 2018, will study the inside of Mars to learn how planets, moons and meteorites with rocky surfaces, including the Earth and its Moon, formed. "It's going to become very hard to hear the sounds from the outside of Mars later on".

The air pressure sensor inside the shield will be relocated as well, and the team will gather data at night, when it expects the wind will have died down and the lander itself will be making less noise.

"The experimental MarCO CubeSats have also opened a new door to smaller planetary spacecraft".