Martian Mix-Tape: NASA's InSight Lander Releases the First Recordings Ever Made on Mars

Monday, 10 December 2018 - 10:59AM
Space
Technology
Mars
Monday, 10 December 2018 - 10:59AM
Martian Mix-Tape: NASA's InSight Lander Releases the First Recordings Ever Made on Mars
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NASA/JPL-Caltech
Before you scroll past all of these words to get to the good stuff, grab a pair of headphones or a nearby subwoofer because you'll need it. NASA recently shared sounds captured on Mars by two of its InSight lander's sensors. The raw audio is reportedly the sound of the 10-15 MPH winds blowing across the spacecraft, and they are the first sounds ever recorded on the Red Planet.

"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat," said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt in a statement. "But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves." There are no microphones on InSight (so we can't hear an alien voices coming through), but there is a seismometer and an air pressure sensor, both of which are very sensitive instruments. NASA explains that on December 1, the Auxiliary Payload Sensor Subsystem (APSS) air pressure sensor recorded the wind vibrations directly, while the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) seismometer recorded the vibrations of the spacecraft caused by the moving air. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory shared the recordings online in two versions: the first as raw, unprocessed sounds, and the second as audio that has been pitched up two octaves so that human ears can hear them better. The first is one you'll need headphones for, but the second should be audible through the speakers on your computer or phone.




"The InSight lander acts like a giant ear," sensor designer and InSight team member Tom Pike. "The solar panels on the lander's sides respond to pressure fluctuations of the wind. It's like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it. When we looked at the direction of the lander vibrations coming from the solar panels, it matches the expected wind direction at our landing site." The SEIS sensor will later be placed on the Martian surface and covered with a dome to shield it from the wind's vibrations, but until then it will record InSight's vibrations so that those sounds can be canceled out and NASA can detect and isolate the data from Marsquakes. 

How long before someone takes this audio and mixes it into an ethereal synthwave track to invent the Marswave subgenre?
Science
NASA
Space
Technology
Mars
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